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Sibley has qualities England need, says Anderson

 

Staking claim: England batsman Dom Sibley frustrates the South African attack
Staking claim: England batsman Dom Sibley frustrates the South African attack

By Rory Dollard

James Anderson hopes England team-mate Dom Sibley can go on to nail down a future in Test cricket after proving his credentials with a knock of real substance in Cape Town.

Sibley's first six attempts at the highest level had yielded just 105 runs but he knuckled down for nearly six hours and 222 deliveries as he ground down the South African attack for an unbeaten 85 on day three of the second Test, leaving the tourists 264 ahead at Newlands.

It was an obdurate, unflashy and deeply important innings in the context of the match, the series at large and Sibley's own journey. Another 15 runs when play resumes today and it may go down as the launching point for a long and fruitful spell heading up the England order.

Anderson, who surpassed Sir Ian Botham by taking a national record 28th five-wicket haul in the morning, certainly hopes so.

At the age of 37 he has seen his fair share of hopefuls fail the audition as an England opener but has high hopes for the Warwickshire man.

"Dom played brilliantly. He's got the mentality to open the batting, score big runs and stay at the crease for a long time," said Anderson.

"That's what we've been missing for a couple of years. Hopefully he's going to cement his place and will get confidence from this knock and go on tomorrow. More importantly, hopefully he can go on in his career in the next few years.

"I think he's shown good signs in his career so far - he hasn't gone on until now but he has made some good starts in his Test career. It's just about getting that confidence and now he's gone on he knows he can do it, so hopefully he can push on tomorrow and in his career."

Anderson also toasted Sibley on behalf of the seamer's union.

"It's good for us bowlers because it means we can put our feet up," he added with a smile.

England resume on 218 for four after captain Joe Root (61) and nightwatchman Dom Bess departed late on, meaning Ben Stokes will be Sibley's first partner on day four.

Their task will be to push the lead up past 350 before handing back to Anderson as England look to square the series at 1-1 with two to play.

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