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December 1, 2009
James Anderson, who took a career-best 5 for 23 at Port Elizabeth to give England a 2-1 lead in the one-day series, was on the verge of being withdrawn from the five-match contest against South Africa after concerns grew over his troublesome knee.
Anderson had been battling the injury since the start of the tour and it reached a stage where the team management were considering resting their key strike bowler to preserve him for the Test series. However, coach Andy Flower said they took a gamble to play him at Centurion Park and since then the knee has responded well.
"We were worried at one stage; we thought of pulling him from the one-day series completely," Flower said. "We took a little bit of a gamble to play him in the first match at Centurion. Some of the [medical] advice was not to play him. But we thought we'd better play him to see how his knee reacts to a 10-over spell and 50 overs in the field.
"He was very surprised by how well he came through it, and so were the medical people - and now it's getting better every day."
Anderson's main problem now is actually a damaged toe which he hurt when stubbing his foot on a chair before the fourth ODI. He needed a local anaesthetic to get through the match but, even though it could be broken, he is not in doubt for the final match at Durban.
"He'll be fine," Flower said. "The doctor's had a look at it and he's not even going to x-ray it - because he says, 'Look, if it's got a crack in it there's nothing much we can do anyway'."
Flower is also confident that his latest recruit to England's backroom staff, Graham Gooch, will slot in well with the touring party when he joins up for a short period around the first Test to act as a batting coach. It is a role Flower used to undertake before taking over the head coach's position and he has a close relationship with Gooch following their time together at Essex.
"I've got the utmost respect for him. He will bring a lot of experience, a lot of expertise, competitive spirit and patriotism," he said. "He'll be a great guy to have around. But he's quite a busy guy with other commitments, and I don't think we could get him full time."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.