James Anderson believes England’s positive style of Test cricket has changed the way people view the longest format of the game around the world as they stand on the brink of victory over South Africa in the third Test at The Oval.
England need a further 33 runs to claim the series 2-1 and with 10 second innings wickets remaining, that looks a formality after they showed measured aggression with both bat and ball to take the game away from the tourists.
Anderson has spoken before of the enjoyment the England team has in playing with freedom and credits coach Brendon McCullum for changing the face of the five day game.
“It’s been amazing. I’ll be honest, Baz (McCullum) has been a breath of fresh air. He has come in and it all feels positive. There is always a positive atmosphere in the dressing room,” Anderson told Sky Sports.
“The sort of messages he sends about going out and trying to entertain and play a certain brand of cricket, everyone has bought into it.
“Some days it hasn’t come off, but when it does it’s spectacular and I think it’s changed not just how the players think about Test cricket, but how the world will think about Test cricket.”
Anderson says one of those who has benefited is opener Zak Crawley, who has been under the microscope all summer having struggled for runs, but raced to 57 off 44 balls on Sunday as England closed the day on 97 without loss chasing 130 to win.
“He has shown glimpses of that throughout the summer but not gone on to get the big score he would like,” Anderson said. “But the message that keeps coming from the coach and the captain is to go out there and be positive. He has done that.”
Should England complete the job as expected, they will have claimed series wins over South Africa and New Zealand this summer, as well as victory over India in a rescheduled Test.
“It’s been an incredible summer and hopefully we can get over the line tomorrow,” Anderson says.
“We just want to get the job done, there’s still 33 runs needed on a tricky wicket and you can’t take anything for granted in this game.”