James Anderson will remind England precisely what they were missing at Lord’s when he returns for the third Test against Sri Lanka at the Rose Bowl tomorrow.
The tallest attack in Test history struggled in Anderson’s injury-enforced absence during the stalemate in the second match of the series.
Watching from the sidelines while his team-mates failed for so long to find their lines last week was at least as painful, it seems, as the injury which prevented Anderson helping them.
However, Anderson likes his billing as attack leader.
He said: “Having that extra responsibility means I’ve got to set the tone when I take the first over.
“I’ve got to lead from the front and set an example for other people to follow. That added responsibility and pressure has helped me become more consistent.
“The bowling attack over the last two or three years have made huge steps in being a really consistent unit.
“We have very rare off days and off matches.”
England are determined too that they do not allow minds to wander beyond Sri Lanka, to the arrival of India next month.
Anderson said: “We’re completely focused on winning this series. We want to become number one in the world, and to do that we have to win series and win them by as big a margin as possible.
“If we win this series 2-0 that’ll be a huge step.”