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'It’s seriously dangerous': Dom Bess says players should have come off sooner | England v Pakistan 2020


Jimmy Anderson heads into day four of the final Test just two victims away from the 600-wicket markand following an evening session of three dropped catches off his bowling in conditions that his teammate Dom Bess felt were dangerous.

Anderson finished with figures of five for 56 as Pakistan were all out for 273 in 93 overs – despite a fine unbeaten 141 from the captain, Azhar Ali – and will go again on Monday morning after Joe Root enforced the follow-on with the tourists 310 runs behind.

But the 38-year-old Lancastrian will hope English hands are more adhesive when play resumes, having struggled to hide his frustration during a profligate final session that saw Rory Burns, Zak Crawley and Stuart Broad all put down chances.

Broad, who still ran out Mohammad Abbas after the drop, appeared to lose sight of the ball and Bess, speaking after bad light ended play 25 minutes early, insisted that conditions, rather than tension about Anderson’s looming milestone, were to blame.

Bess said: “It’s no excuse but it was really dark out there. I was stood at square leg and Azhar pulled one off Jofra Archer and I did not see it. In all seriousness, if that is hit straight at me I genuinely don’t know what I’m going to be doing.

“Playing in those conditions, we have to be switched on and thinking about player well-being. Because we’ve got a No10 and a No 11 out there having to face Jofra in those conditions and it’s seriously dangerous.”

The off-spinner went on to claim that the light-meter reading was 430 at the close – compared to a measurement of 700 that became the benchmark during the light-afflicted second Test – and in his opinion the players should have come off sooner.

England will be hoping that rain which is forecast for the remainder of the match does not thwart their bid to claim a 2-0 series victory, while Anderson will want to end the swirling chat about the 600 wickets at the earliest opportunity rather than see it roll into the winter.

Asked if the players were talking about Anderson’s landmark in the dressing room, Bess replied: “No. To be honest I completely forgot he was close. That’s not my lack of knowledge, it’s that we are so focused as a team and we want to win.

“Jimmy will be thinking about it, he’ll know roughly where he is, but I’ll put my hand up: I only remembered when he had three or four. It’s amazing for an individual – and Jimmy is amazing – but as a team we are so driven by what we’ve got to do for the side. I think Jimmy, when he does his business, he does it for the team.

“He’s England’s greatest. Myself, Dom Sibley, Ollie Pope, Zak Crawley, we all grew up watching him do it. It’s phenomenal to stand there and watch him nick people off, hit them on the shins, take as many poles as he does and do it consistently. There was some [media] chat about retirement and then he tears it up – that just shows how good he is.”

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