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Anderson absence shades 3rd Windies Test
By Julian Guyer
17:02 AEST Thu Jun 7 2012

A series where plenty of attention has been given to absent West Indies' players concludes with the focus on England resting spearhead seamer James Anderson from the third Test in Birmingham.

In rising to No.1 in the world Test rankings, England have rested players along the way - Anderson missed the 2010 tour of Bangladesh.

The difference now is that the Lancashire star doesn't want a break.

But the concern for England is the sheer amount of cricket they have left this season - four Tests (three against South Africa who will challenge for top spot in the rankings), 14 one-day internationals and four Twenty20s.

And then comes the defence of their World T20 title in Sri Lanka and a Test tour of India.

England, 2-0 up in the three-match series, do have capable seam bowling reserves in Steven Finn and Graham Onions and both could be in the side on Thursday if selectors opt to give Anderson's new-ball partner Stuart Broad a rest as well.

Anderson made it clear he wanted to play at Edgbaston but England coach Andy Flower insisted it was the right time for him to take a breather.

"We came into this series with one goal, and that was to win the series," Flower said on Tuesday.

"I'm not intending to demean the importance of this Test - but since we won the series already, our priority does now shift to the South Africa series."

Flower likened Anderson's position to that of a thoroughbred racehorse, saying: "Would you enter your prize horse in every race through the year?

"You wouldn't - you would target the races you want to win. We've won this race already."

West Indies' coach Ottis Gibson has no qualms.

"If they rest six players and we win, it's still West Indies vs England and we don't really care how many people they rest," he said.

Meanwhile, opener Adrian Barath was glad to see the back of Anderson, saying: "Any opener would say the same. It was really a challenge facing him."

But Gibson warned against thinking life was about to get any easier for a top order who collapsed to 6-61 in the second innings of the nine-wicket second Test defeat at Trent Bridge.

West Indies, who've won just two of their past 32 Tests and haven't won a Test in England for more than a decade, suffered a blow when Kemar Roach, their most hostile fast bowler, dropped out of the tour with a shin problem last week.

England will choose their squad from: Andrew Strauss (capt), Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Jonathan Bairstow, Matt Prior, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Steven Finn, Graham Onions.

West Indies will choose their squad from: Darren Sammy (capt), Kirk Edwards, Adrian Barath, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Fidel Edwards, Assad Fudadin, Kieran Powell, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Marlon Samuels, Shane Shillingford, Tino Best, Sunil Narine.