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English are ‘covered’


Buttler believes that team has enough depth even after Anderson returns home.

England may have lost their premier seamer James Anderson for the remainder of the series, but Jos Buttler believes the tourists have two “exciting” prospects ready to fill the void.

Anderson was brilliant at Newlands, claiming a 28th career five-for in the first innings, and took crucial second innings wickets to help England level the series at 1-1.

The 37-year-old, though, sustained a rib injury and was forced to return home ahead of the third Test this week at St George’s Park.

However, with Mark Wood taking full part in training yesterday and Jofra Archer approaching peak fitness again, Buttler believes England are covered despite Anderson being the “best seam bowler we’ve ever had”.

“He obviously went really well in that last game so it is a big loss,” Buttler said in Port Elizabeth. “But we do have two guys on the side potentially that can come in.

“Exciting guys, ‘Woodie’ is champing at the bit to get back in and been working really hard. We know what Jofra has done in his short Test career so far. Two very exciting guys to come in.”

Equally, Buttler was not too perturbed that England captain Joe Root missed training yesterday due to illness. The tourists have been beset by injury and illness on this tour of South Africa, particularly during the early stages when a host of management and players were struck down.

It is not clear yet whether Root is suffering from similar symptoms but the England management are understandably keeping the skipper away from the rest of the squad as a precautionary measure. Buttler was confident that Root would be back to take his place at the helm very soon.

“Hopefully it is just today,” Buttler said of Root missing training.

“He will be frustrated because nobody wants to miss training less than Joe. It is a bit a story of the tour, but I am sure he will be fine.”

The England wicket-keeper was more embarrassed about his behaviour during the Newlands Test when stump microphones transmitted a “conversation” between him and Proteas all-rounder Vernon Philander on the field. Buttler was heard using foul language and was later fined 15 percent of his match fee by the ICC.

Red mist

“I’d like to apologise,” Buttler said. “I understand that’s not the way to behave. I take the slap on the wrists and move on. I fully understand that as role models we have a duty to behave in a certain way.

“Sometimes it’s just one of those things: the heat of the moment and a bit of red mist.

“It’s all done so hopefully it can be swept under the carpet and we move on.”

The Proteas meanwhile enjoyed a further rest day yesterday and will gather today in preparation for this crucial third Test.

The selectors have kept the same squad that did duty in the first two Tests.

The starting XI from the Newlands Test, along with Cape Cobras Dane Paterson travelled to Port Elizabeth, while the rest of the players will remain with their franchise teams to play in the CSA Domestic Four-Day series.