Sri Lanka vs England: Stuart Broad back, James Anderson out for SSC Test
Stuart Broad will play the third Test at the SSC, where he made his debut in 2007. @AFP

England have decided to drop their all-time wicket-taker James Anderson for the third Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo this week, with Stuart Broad getting his first chance of the series.

ALSO READ: Jonny Bairstow aims to push hard for Test recall

With an unassailable 2-0 lead – one that will push them back to No 2 in the ICC Test rankings after the series – England have taken the decision to rest Anderson who went wicketless in the last match in which 38 wickets fell to spin, which is a record.

Broad sat out of the first two Tests, which England skipper Joe Root said was one of his “toughest decisions” as captain, but will now return to the scene of this Test debut in 2007.

ALSO READ: England will move to No 2 in Tests after Sri Lanka series

“I understand the reasoning behind it with the series already won,” said Anderson, who was handed a demerit point at Pallekele for showing dissent. “With the winter we’ve got ahead, it makes sense for Stuart to get some cricket. He’s not played for a while and it’s going to be a tough tour of the West Indies. It’s a good opportunity for him and the team. You have to look at the situation as well – it’s hard work for seamers here and it’s not like I’ve been able to have a huge input on the games.”

Root last week became the first England captain to win a Test series in Sri Lanka since 2001 when his team won by 57 runs at Pallekele after winning the Galle Test by 211 runs.