Anderson says England have changed perceptions of Test cricket as South Africa win looms

·3-min read

James Anderson claimed Brendon McCullum's England have changed the way the world views Test cricket as they closed in on a series win over South Africa.

McCullum has introduced a thrilling style since taking over as England's red-ball coach in May, leading the side to a whitewash of New Zealand and a terrific chase victory over India at Edgbaston.

While South Africa dealt the coach-captain duo of McCullum and Ben Stokes their first Test match defeat last month, the hosts are on the brink of completing a 2-1 series triumph over the tourists after impressing with both ball and bat at The Oval on Sunday.

England will require just 33 runs to wrap up a fourth consecutive series win over the Proteas when the decisive third Test resumes on Monday, and Anderson is relishing their revival.

"It's been amazing, I'll be honest, Baz [McCullum] has been a breath of fresh air. He's come in and it just feels positive, there's a positive atmosphere in that dressing room," Anderson told Sky Sports.

"The messages he sends about going out there and trying to entertain, everyone's bought into it. Some days it hasn't paid off, but when it has, it's spectacular.

"It's changed the way not only some of the players have thought about Test cricket, but maybe even the way the world thinks about Test cricket.

"Hopefully we can get the job done tomorrow. Still 33 runs to get on a tricky wicket, we'll just try and get it done as professionally as we can."

With 667 wickets in the format, Anderson is the third most prolific bowler in Test cricket history, behind Muttiah Muralitharan (800) and Shane Warne (708).

He was joined in the top five of that illustrious list by Stuart Broad on Sunday, as his three dismissals moved him clear of Glenn McGrath with 566 red-ball wickets.

Stuart Broad moved onto 566 Test wickets
Stuart Broad moved onto 566 Test wickets

Anderson was delighted by his team-mate's achievement, adding: "It means a lot to him because of how high he held Glenn in his eyes.

"So for him to go past him, it means a lot to him and shows the amount of work he's put in, the dedication to his job, and his skill as well. It's a pleasure to bowl at the other end."

Having benefited from the decision to stop play for bad light when South Africa were on top on Saturday, England were left frustrated after not being given the opportunity to finish the visitors off a day later.

Despite his annoyance at the umpire's decision to call time, Anderson remains confident England will see the match through on Monday, adding: "It's obviously frustrating from our point of view, because the rate we were scoring at, we might only have needed another five or six overs.

"The guys were seeing the ball pretty well and with a good crowd in here it would have been nice to finish it.

"The point of view of the umpires is they took a reading yesterday, that's the precedent for the whole game, and I think their message was if it rained all day tomorrow it would be unfair on South Africa to get the game done today.

"It's frustrating, but hopefully we'll come back and get the job done.

"I'd like to think that common sense would prevail. At the minute, the reading is the precedent for the rest of the game, but in certain situations you do think common sense could come into play."