Despite having already wrapped up the series to become Test cricket’s No. 1 side, England seem intent on fielding their strongest possible lineup for the fourth and final Test against India.
With one-day matches still to come, paceman James Anderson might have been expected to rest his minor thigh injury when play starts at The Oval today, but captain Andrew Strauss said yesterday his team was determined to maintain the momentum that has taken his side to 19 Test victories since Andy Flower was appointed coach two years ago — just one fewer than England managed in the whole of the 1980s.
Anderson bowled for about 30 minutes in yesterday’s practice and should be fit to keep his place ahead of Steve Finn and Graham Onions.
“We’ve set a precedent of resting players in the past and I think it’s sensible at times to be able to do that because of the hectic nature of the international schedule, but we will only be resting players if we’re absolutely sure they need a rest,” Strauss said.
Strauss said England learned lessons from 2005, when they were also on the verge of great things.
England beat a long-dominant Australia, but hubris and lack of strength in depth subsequently undermined the squad, which experienced the twin lows of a 5-0 Ashes capitulation and a 2009 series loss to West Indies.
“This is a gradual evolution and we’re only part of the way there on our journey as a group of players. The rankings are an indicator of the type of cricket we’re playing,” he added.