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James Anderson is set to make history
James Anderson is set to make history

James Anderson is poised to make history when England attempt to maintain their perfect Test record against New Zealand at Edgbaston and seal a series win.

Anderson is set to become his country's most-capped Test player in Birmingham on Thursday, surpassing his close friend and former team-mate Alastair Cook's tally of 161.

England's leading Test wicket-taker is expected to get the nod to retain his place in the England attack following a drab draw at Lord's

The Black Caps were unable to force a victory on the final day of the first match in London, with Joe Root's side showing no intention of chasing down a target of 273 after Kane Williamson declared at lunch.

England have won all four Test matches against the Black Caps in Birmingham, but this will be the first time they have played at the venue since July 1999.

Victory for the tourists would be the perfect preparation for the ICC World Test Championship final against India at the Ageas Bowl.

The game has been overshadowed by off-field issues, with England fast bowler Ollie Robinson suspended pending an investigation into historic racist and sexist tweets he sent.

It then emerged on Monday that a second unnamed England player is under investigation for social media posts he made before turning 16.

With Robinson absent, Craig Overton or Olly Stone could come into the England team. Jack Leach is also hoping for a recall, while fellow spinner Dom Bess was added to the squad for a match that will see crowds of around 18,000 allowed in.

New Zealand, meanwhile, will be without captain Williamson.

He will sit out of the match as he tries to give a lingering elbow injury time to heal ahead of the World Test Championship Final against India next week, and Tom Latham will step up to lead the Black Caps.

ANDERSON REFLECTS ON TOUGH TEST START

"My first ball was a no-ball and there were a lot of nerves there," Anderson said when reminiscing about his first Test appearance, against Zimbabwe at Lord's in 2003. 

"I remember Nasser Hussain didn't have a fine leg for me and I went for quite a few runs.

"No disrespect to Zimbabwe but playing against teams like South Africa, Australia and India, once you put in performances against the top teams in the world, that's when you think you can perform at that level.

"It did take a few years and a few tours around the world to make me think I could do it."

Anderson finished his debut with figures of 5-73. His tally of 616 wickets heading into Thursday's match means he is the most successful fast bowler in history.

KANE OUT BUT LATHAM MORE THAN ABLE

"It is not an easy decision for Kane to have to miss a Test, but we think it is the right one," said New Zealand coach Gary Stead.

"He's had an injection in his elbow to relieve the irritation he's been experiencing when he bats and a period of rest and rehabilitation will help maximise his recovery."

Williamson will be a big miss for the tourists, but Latham has plenty of experience. The opener averages 41.97 across 57 Tests, though he could not build on starts in the first Test as he scored 23 and 36.

Meanwhile, paceman Trent Boult could be in line to return, as he looks to regain some match sharpness ahead of the India showdown.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Anderson is four wickets away from eclipsing India's Anil Kumble (619) as the third-highest wicket-taker in Test cricket.

- New Zealand's Latham (3,988 – 99 innings) is 12 runs shy from becoming the ninth Black Caps player to register 4,000 runs in Test cricket.

- Joe Root has scored 4,105 runs in Tests since the beginning of July 2017 when he played his first match as England captain; his tally is the most by any player in that time (Virat Kohli – 2,993).

- New Zealand are undefeated in their last six Tests against England (W3, D3), the last time they recorded a longer unbeaten run against them was an 11-match span from January 1984 to June 1990 (W2, D9).

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