BRISBANE OF OUR LIVES
Anderson: The Gabba has been England’s hoodoo ground for too long... it’s time to go there and show Aussies we mean business
JAMES ANDERSON says it is time for England to end their 31-year Brisbane hoodoo and give the Aussie public something to think about.
Written off before they even landed, England have, according to Anderson, a squad that can not only retain the Ashes but lay down a marker at the ‘ Gabbatoir’ where so many teams have faltered from the off.
It was the place where a draw was enough to launch England’s successful tour of 2010-11, but this time around Anderson wants to go one better and hit the Aussies where it hurts.
“You’ve got to put it all out there in Brisbane and come away with something,” said Anderson. “We can’t go there thinking we’ve got to get a draw, we have to go and try to win the game.
“I think we should be looking to beat them at Brisbane. It would be such an amazing effort because of how well they play there and the record they’ve got there.
“They haven’t lost a game there for so many years and I don’t think England have won there since 1986, so that is the sort of record we should be looking to break. To beat them would be a massive coup for us and it would get them thinking, and the rest of Australia too.”
To do that, you would think Anderson and Stuart Broad need to lead the way in getting rid of David Warner and Steve Smith ( below) early, with Sir Ian Botham suggesting in these pages there isn’t much more to come.
“They are important wickets, especially Smith as their captain,” added Anderson. “He is a very important wicket and one we’ll be looking to get as early as possible for sure.
“You’ve got to give him a lot of credit for working very hard on turning himself from a struggling No.6 to a player who could bat at three or four for any international side.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for that and respect for him so I’ll be looking forward to pitting my skills against him and see how it comes out.”
It is Anderson’s fourth tour Down Under and to say he has experienced the full range of emotions in Ashes cricket would be a massive understatement.
His 24 wickets in 2010-11 contributed hugely to the 3-1 success of that tour and it remains a personal highlight for a man with more than 500 Test wickets. But he also knows what it is like when the boot is on the other foot, suffering two 5- 0 Ashes whitewashes, with 2006- 07 a particularly tough tour.
He said: “The worst trip I had was back in 2006-07. On and off the field it wasn’t particularly nice, but I’d have to say the last two have been brilliant.
“My lasting memory of that 06- 07 trip was that it ate everyone up. Away from the ground everyone was thinking about cricket and worrying ‘oh no, we’ve got another game coming, we’re going to get hammered again.’ You’ve got to get away from that.
“I know we got beat 5-0 last time but it is still an amazing place to tour and you’ve got to embrace the culture and go out and see things and do things and meet people.
“You’ve got to get to the beach, go and see kangaroos, get on the golf courses, whatever it is you want to do, take advantage and do it because the cricket and the training and the focus will be there so you’ve got to enjoy your downtime.”
BRUT OF A TOUR Anderson reflects on his mixed experiences Down Under with Mirror Sport’s Dean Wilson