James Anderson calls England captain Ben Stokes ‘absolute machine’ after big win in Manchester

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Ben Stokes bowled 14 overs in succession on day three at Emirates Old Trafford, taking the key wickets of Rassie van der Dussen and Keegan Petersen to set up England’s series-levelling, innings-and-85-run victory over South Africa; James Anderson says all-rounder ‘leads by example’

Last Updated: 28/08/22 7:15am

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James Anderson praised captain Ben Stokes and opener Zak Crawley after England thrashed South Africa in Manchester

James Anderson praised captain Ben Stokes and opener Zak Crawley after England thrashed South Africa in Manchester

James Anderson called influential skipper Ben Stokes an “absolute machine” after he followed a century on day two with two crucial wickets on day three to inspire England to an innings win over South Africa in Manchester.

Stokes snapped a determined 87-run stand between Rassie van der Dussen (41 off 132) and Keegan Petersen (42 off 159) with the wickets of both shortly after tea on Saturday to reduce South Africa to 151-5, before the tourists folded to 179 all out as Anderson and Ollie Robinson fired with the second new ball.

The skipper’s twin strike came amid a run of 14 overs in succession, while he scored his 12th Test century on Friday, making 103 from 163 balls as the hosts earned a first-innings lead of 264 over the Proteas.

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Highlights from day three of the second Test between England and South Africa at Emirates Old Trafford

Highlights from day three of the second Test between England and South Africa at Emirates Old Trafford

Anderson, who claimed three wickets in each South Africa innings at Emirates Old Trafford, said of Stokes to Sky Sports: “It was frightening, he is an absolute freak. How he does that day in, day out [I don’t know].

“He got a hundred and batted for however long. To then be able to do that sort of bowling spell and get the wickets that he did. Imagine if he had a body that actually functioned properly!

“He is an absolute machine and leads by example. He is not just a good captain on the field, the way he shows us how play the game is real credit to him.”

Anderson, 40, also spoke of how much he is enjoying playing under Stokes and Test coach Brendon McCullum, a partnership that has helped England to five wins in six Test matches so far this summer, with the innings shellacking against South Africa at Lord’s last week the only blip.

England’s victory means the three-match series against South Africa is tied at 1-1 ahead of the third and final Test at The Kia Oval from September 8

The seamer said: “Everyone is clear on their role and what the captain and coach expect of them which is a massive help – it takes away the doubt, allows you to focus on your job.

‘I am not a defensive bowler anymore’

“I have really enjoyed the last few months, the way Ben and Brendon want us to play. My role has become different. I am not a defensive bowler at all anymore.

“They want me to take wickets and think about taking wickets all the time. I think I have smiled more than I ever have on a cricket field.

“[Have I ever been fitter?] Maybe not. I try to look after my body as I love doing this. The older you get the more you have to look after yourself as niggles do creep in a little bit more and it takes longer to recover.”

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Ben Foakes clinched his second Test hundred and first on home soil from 206 deliveries with a boundary off Anrich Nortje

Ben Foakes clinched his second Test hundred and first on home soil from 206 deliveries with a boundary off Anrich Nortje

England bounced back in style from their hammering in the Lord’s Test, dismissing South Africa for less than 200 in both innings and piling on 415-9 declared in their sole knock thanks principally to Stokes and Ben Foakes (113no), who put on 173 for the sixth wicket from 147-5.

The hosts had been stuttering at 43-3, only for under-pressure opener Zak Crawley – who came into the Test averaging below 17 in 10 innings this summer – to compile a gritty 38 from 101 deliveries and Jonny Bairstow a more free-flowing 49 from 63 in a fourth-wicket alliance of 91.

‘Crawley was wise beyond his years’

Anderson added: “It was a brilliant [performance]. We spoke a lot after the last game about how we can be better.

“With the ball we stuck to our guns and tried to keep catchers in the whole way through the game.

“With the bat, we spoke about learning when to soak up pressure and then put it back onto the opposition. I think we did that amazingly.

“The way Zak played was wise beyond his years and allowed Jonny (Bairstow) to counter-punch at the other end.

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Captain Stokes reflects on England’s thumping victory, a week after they were thrashed at Lord’s

Captain Stokes reflects on England’s thumping victory, a week after they were thrashed at Lord’s

“Zak deserves his place in the team and hopefully can kick on from here. He is not just an attacking batsman and should take confidence from scoring runs against this attack.

“That partnership set up the two Bens [Stokes and Foakes] being able to play the way they did in their match-winning partnership.

“South Africa would say they were not at their best this week, we were not at our best last week. If we both bring our A-games to the decider [at The Kia Oval from September 8], it will be a special game.”

Watch day one of the third LV= Insurance Test between England and South Africa, from The Kia Oval, live on Sky Sports Cricket from Thursday, September 8. Build-up starts at 10am ahead of the first ball at 11am.

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