Sri Lanka v England Test - Men's
England's Anderson rested for third Test
Tourists decide to play Stuart Broad for the first time in the series after establishing unassailable lead
21 November 2018, 06:36 PM AEST
England's James Anderson will miss his first Test match in six years after the tourists opted to leave out their spearhead for the third and final Test in Colombo starting on Friday.
Holding an unassailable 2-0 advantage, England have decided to rest their leading wicket-taker of all time and replace him with fellow quick Stuart Broad, who has not figured in the preceding two Test matches.
Jonny Bairstow has also come in for young paceman Sam Curran, who has a minor side issue.
"I understand the reasoning behind it with the series already won," Anderson told reporters on Wednesday.
"With the winter we've got ahead, it makes sense for Stuart to get some cricket. He's not played for a while and it's going to be a tough tour of the West Indies (in January).
"It's a good opportunity for him and the team. You have to look at the situation as well - it's hard work for seamers here and it's not like I've been able to have a huge input on the games."
Anderson has only claimed one wicket for the series, with conditions in Galle and Pallekele heavily favouring spin.
Slow bowlers took 19 of the 20 wickets to fall in the second Test in Pallekele, with allrounder Ben Stokes also grabbing a run out.
Curran was preferred to partner Anderson and while he finished with one wicket to his name in Sri Lanka, he has made handy contributions of 64 and 48 with the bat.
Spinners Moeen Ali (14 wickets), James Leach (13) and Adil Rashid (seven) have done the damage, leading England to wins by 211 runs and 57 runs in the opening two Tests.
Sri Lanka’s Suranga Lakmal is the leading wicket-taker of the pace bowlers, grabbing four victims, underlining the difficulties for the fast men.
The last time Anderson was left out of England’s team for a Test match was against the West Indies in 2012.
Anderson and Broad have enjoyed decorated careers, collecting 998 Test wickets between them.
Anderson sits fourth on the all time list of Test wicket-takers with 565 wickets, while Broad is ninth with 433.
England are third on the ICC Test rankings, while Sri Lanka sit sixth.