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Page last updated at 12:14 GMT, Tuesday, 8 December 2009

England's James Anderson sits out South Africa warm-up

Tour match: South Africa XI v England
Venue: Buffalo Park, East London Dates: 8-9 December Start time: 0800 GMT
Coverage: Updates on BBC Radio 5 live, live scorecard on BBC Sport website

England bowler James Anderson
England bowler Anderson is expected to play in the second warm-up game

England bowlers James Anderson and Ryan Sidebottom will miss England's two-day warm-up game against a South African XI, which starts on Wednesday.

Anderson has a knee injury and will be rested for the warm-up in East London, while Sidebottom has a side strain.

England face the same team in another two-day match, starting on Friday.

Coach Andy Flower said: "They will not play in the first two days but will play in the second two-day game. We hope they will be ready for the Test."

The four-match Test series starts on Wednesday 16 December in Centurion.

Anderson has been struggling with a mystery injury in his right knee for more than two months. Scans have proven there is no structural damage in the joint, but the fast bowler still experienced pain during England's 2-1 one-day series victory.

"Jim had some further injections to that knee area on Saturday, to try to settle things down a little," Flower confirmed. We're allowing those injections to work. He has had a good reaction to them so far."

Injuries are not the only problem the tourists are facing, as bad weather in South Africa has hampered their preparations.

But following a night of violent thunderstorms over East London, an unexpected burst of sunshine on Tuesday allowed them to get some outdoor practice.

"This is unexpected good weather today. We thought it was going to be raining most of the day," Flower admitted.

"It's great for our guys to get in the nets outside - and also, it's great for the outfield to get some sun and wind on it."


The rain of the past two weeks across the country has tested England's patience, with two of the five one-day internationals abandoned without a ball bowled, and various training sessions also washed out.

The double withdrawal of Anderson and Sidebottom means it is almost certain Liam Plunkett will play on Wednesday.

Plunkett, 24, first picked under the Duncan Fletcher regime as a raw 20-year-old, played the last of his nine Tests two and a half years ago.

Meanwhile, Ian Bell, who has joined the squad as a Test specialist, may struggle to find a place in the batting line-up with Jonathan Trott and Paul Collingwood both in good form.

South Africa are crossing their fingers that Jacques Kallis, the inspirational all-rounder who missed the whole of the one-day series, will be fit after a serious rib injury but rate his chances as only "50-50" and say he will not be played as a batsman alone.

Possible England team (v SA Airways XI): Strauss (captain), Cook, Trott, Pietersen, Collingwood, Prior (wk), Wright, Broad, Swann, Plunkett, Onions.

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see also
Poor weather frustrates Pietersen
07 Dec 09 |  England
Gooch non-committal on coach role
06 Dec 09 |  England
Seamer Davies handed England call
05 Dec 09 |  England
Rain hands England one-day series
04 Dec 09 |  England
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
England in South Africa 2009-10
17 Jan 10 |  England

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