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Broad could be a good first-change option – Anderson

England’s leading Test match wicket taker, James Anderson, says that Stuart Broadis “disappointed” to have not opened the bowling in either of England’s warm-up matches in New Zealand but thinks it could be a useful option to have Broad come on first change in the Test series.

Mark Wood opened the bowling in the first warm-up match, a pink ball affair, against a New Zealand XI while Chris Woakes shared the new red ball with Anderson in the second match against a different home side on Friday (March 16). On both occasions, Broad took the second new ball with Anderson after 80 overs but it was a strange sight to see someone other than Broad bowl first up for England.

It could be that the 31-year-old opens the bowling in the first Test in Auckland next week but the use of Wood and Woakes in these two matches is a sure sign that captain Joe Root is preparing for life without Anderson and Broad. “Obviously he is disappointed,” Anderson told Sky Sports News. “He’s a very proud bloke. We’ve opened the bowling together for a number of years.

“He has bowled first change in the past and I can see what Joe [Root] wants to do with looking to the future, but also having that experience to come on first change. He’s looking really threatening and I think it’s a good option to potentially have him coming on first change”

Broad had a difficult Ashes series, taking just 11 wickets from five matches at an average of 47, and his lack of incision led to former England captain Michael Vaughan calling for him to be dropped for the fourth Test at the MCG. Despite those troubles, Anderson believes that Broad, currently sitting on 399 Test dismissals, has shown enough in the two warm-up matches in Hamilton to suggest that he is getting somewhere back to his best.

“Stuart has done a lot of work on his action during the time off between the Ashes and now,” Anderson said. “He has looked a different bowler in the last two games we’ve played. He looks refreshed, confident, his action looks really strong and he’s getting the ball to move away from the right-handers, which is something he struggled a little bit with in recent times.”

Having Broad come on first change makes sense from a tactical perspective. England’s bowling in Test cricket has been over-reliant on Anderson and Broad taking wickets with the new ball. Once they have finished their initial spells, wickets have often been hard to come by and the intent has dropped off as it often did during the Ashes on flat pitches when the ball softened up. The approach of having Broad come on first change would allow Root to keep the intensity up for longer.

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