James Anderson: England's young stars give team 'kick up backside'

By Stephan ShemiltBBC Sport at Headingley
England celebrate a wicket by Ben Stokes (second left)
Stokes (second left) took the crucial wicket of Brendon McCullum just after tea

England's record wicket-taker James Anderson says young players have given the team "a kick up the backside".

Five of England's team facing New Zealand in the second Test at Headingley are 25 or under.

"It's been great, it's rubbing off on us," said 32-year-old Anderson, who took his 400th Test wicket on day one.

"It's good for someone like me, who is almost over the hill, when you're getting these guys to give us a kick up the backside."

Batsman Joe Root, 24, was named England's player of the year before the series against New Zealand, while 25-year-old Gary Ballance averages more than 55 with the bat in Test cricket.

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Ben Stokes, 23, was named man of the match for his all-round performance in the first Test win at Lord's, where 24-year-old pace bowler Mark Wood took four wickets on debut.

"You can't help but admire the way they play," added Anderson. "Seeing these guys coming in has given a fresh feel to the side.

"The players that we have in the team, guys like Ben Stokes and Mark Wood, they are naturally attacking cricketers.

"We have seen New Zealand taking Test cricket forward and Australia will be aggressive in the Ashes. We are looking to play that same sort of cricket and fight fire with fire."

Pace bowler Anderson took his 400th and 401st Test wickets to increase his record haul for England and reduce New Zealand to 2-2 after the home side had won the toss at Headingley, before some indifferent bowling saw the tourists recover to 297-8 at the close.

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"From 2-2, if England had bowled better, it could quite easily have been a day where New Zealand were bowled out for 180. But with the way they've played, aggressively, hitting the bowlers off their lengths, they've given themselves a decent first-innings total."

"Getting two wickets early on, we thought it was the right choice to field first, but we didn't bowl particularly well after that," said Anderson.

"Conceding more than four and a half runs an over is not good by our standards.

"We're happy to get the eight wickets but would have liked to keep them to a few less runs.

"We've seen that there's a bit of movement off the pitch but if you can get in on it you can score freely, so hopefully tomorrow, when we bat, we'll go big."

James Anderson graphic