James Anderson is enjoying the thrill ride of Ben Stokes' England captaincy and the challenge of "thinking differently", ahead of the third and final Test against Pakistan.

The 40-year-old has impressed in the tourists' first two matches and will be rested for the last encounter, with an eye on England's trip to New Zealand in the new year.

With 177 caps, Anderson is second only to India great Sachin Tendulkar for all-time Test appearances, and he has posted eight wickets at 18.50 while in Pakistan.

His efforts come amid a more aggressive approach to the long-form game favoured by Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum, which Anderson says is having a galvanising effect on all England's bowlers.

"I love thinking about the game, thinking about plans, and Ben is that sort of captain," Anderson said. "All he thinks about is taking wickets.

"He's not bothered about trying to dry the run rate up or control the game. He wants to take wickets. You see that with the fields he sets. That then rubs off on you as a bowler.

"This seems to be working for this group of bowlers, and we've got a nice mix of bowlers. I've found it refreshing thinking differently, even though I've played a lot of games."

The third Test begins on Saturday, with Anderson expecting England to head in with the same positive approach that has brought two wins so far, as instilled by captain and coach.

"As long as you're getting hit in the right areas, they don't care if you go for the odd four," Anderson said, quoted by Cricinfo. "That gives you confidence to bowl, knowing that you don't have to fret about how many runs you're going for.

"If that's the way you're trying to get people out, with catchers in front of the wicket as they have been out here, then they're completely fine with it."