Eng­land’s joy matched by Jimmy

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT - ROAD RUN­NING

ENG­LAND’S joy at watch­ing a pro­ces­sion of Aus­tralian bats­men head­ing to and from the MCG pavil­ion on the sec­ond af­ter­noon may have been matched only by the per­for­mance of their at­tack leader, Jimmy An­der­son.

Seven wick­ets in the first three Tests had cost him 54 apiece. His pace looked down, he could find no swing – ei­ther con­ven­tional or re­verse – and the first Test at Trent Bridge in July, where An­der­son’s 10 wick­ets set Eng­land on their way to a 3-0 se­ries win, felt a life­time ago.

But three big scalps – as Aus­tralia slumped to 164 for 9 at stumps in re­ply to Eng­land’s 255 – went some way to re­dress­ing the bal­ance of a mis­er­able tour, and gave Alas­tair Cook’s much-mocked tourists their best day of the se­ries.

The re­wards were the scalps of Aus­tralia’s bet­ter bats­men, not to men­tion cap­tain Michael Clarke.

And pa­tience: An­der­son has put Eng­land’s re­vival down to stick­ing to a ‘bor­ing’ game plan de­vised by cap­tain Cook.

An­der­son put that down to their dis­ci­plined ap­proach at the MCG.

He said: “We just stuck to our plan. There’s no de­mons as such in the pitch, it’s just hard to score on.

“We just tried to bang out our ar­eas and be as bor­ing and pa­tient as pos­si­ble through­out the whole day.

“Maybe in pre­vi­ous games we’ve got a bit ex­cited and car­ried away and gone away from our plan, and that’s some­thing that we’ve con­cen­trated on this game.

“The frus­trat­ing thing is not get­ting the ball swing­ing as much as we thought, and there hasn’t been as much seam move­ment as there was last time we were here,” said An­der­son, who claimed the wick­ets of Clarke, David Warner and Ge­orge Bai­ley.

“I feel like I’ve been bowl­ing okay, but just not get­ting the usual re­wards for it.”

Rewind: James An­der­son was a hero dur­ing Eng­land’s 3-0 Ashes win in July where he took 10 wick­ets.

Three years ago An­der­son was at the heart of Eng­land’s first vic­tory in Aus­tralia for 24 years, claim­ing 24 wick­ets at 26 apiece as An­drew Strauss’s side won three Tests by an in­nings.

But his Ashes fig­ures be­tween Not­ting­ham and the end of the third Test in Perth took a rare old ham­mer­ing: 19 wick­ets in seven Tests had cost 47 each.

He had been con­ced­ing 3.30 runs an over, and strik­ing only once ev­ery 86 balls.

It was the per­for­mance ex­pected not of an at­tack bowler but of a third-change seamer.

In­trigu­ingly, An­der­son re­ceived sup­port from an un­likely source af­ter he fin­ished the sec­ond day with three wick­ets in the bag.

Aus­tralian opener Chris Rogers said: “I’ve found he’s bowled well at times in this se­ries. Maybe be­cause he’s car­ried a big load, it’s worn him down a bit.

“But fac­ing him with the new ball, he’s bowled quite well.”

An­der­son pre­ferred to talk about a hap­pier day for his side rather than dwell on his own re­cent strug­gles. “Days like that have been few and far be­tween on this trip,” he said.

“We’re just re­ally hun­gry to get some­thing out of this tour, and we showed that to­day. I thought we fielded pretty well all day – well, most of the other guys.”

That was a ref­er­ence to a pair of catches he dropped. One would have gone down as a clas­sic, as An­der­son dived to his right at mid­wicket and failed to cling on to a Steve Smith pull.

But the other was an old-fash­ioned howler, as Mitchell John­son’s drive off Tim Bres­nan picked An­der­son out at short cover – and fell to ground.

Soon af­ter, An­der­son re­deemed him­self by catch­ing John­son at short mid­wicket, again off Bres­nan – and was en­gulfed by grate­ful col­leagues sud­denly sens­ing the chance of their first Test win.

Eng­land’s resur­gence has all been achieved with­out the help of his good friend Graeme Swann, whose shock re­tire­ment will not af­fect An­der­son’s fu­ture.

“It’s been a dis­ap­point­ing tour, and I know we’ve got a lot more to show peo­ple. I want to be a part of that. Swanny was a big char­ac­ter in our dress­ing-room, but there are other big char­ac­ters in there too.

“As harsh as it sounds – be­cause he’s a good friend – but we’ve got to move on.

“It’s of course sad to see him leave, but we’ve got to con­cen­trate on the fu­ture now. We want to get some­thing out of this Test – and the next one.” – Daily Mail 21st Tokai Manor 16km, Tokai For­est Men: WPCC 4km time trial Start: Thurs­days at 5:45 from the run­ners tap

Con­di­tions : Mud­a­bala World Cham­pi­onship, Abu Dhabi: Semi-fi­nals:

Match for fifth place:

GALLO IM­AGES

FLY­ING: Eng­land fast bowler James An­der­son cel­e­brates tak­ing the wicket of Aus­tralian cap­tain Michael Clarke on the sec­ond day of the Mel­bourne Test.

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