The Ashes 2013-14

Anderson eager for pace and bounce

George Dobell

October 21, 2013

Comments: 65 | Text size: A | A

James Anderson removed David Warner early in the day, England v Australia, 5th Investec Test, The Oval, 1st day, August 21, 2013
James Anderson: 'The last time we went there, in 2010-11, the wickets had a bit in them for bowlers and I enjoyed it a lot' © AFP
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James Anderson has welcomed the suggestion that Australia will prepare relatively helpful pitches for seamers in the forthcoming Ashes series.

After England prevailed 3-0 at home on surfaces that were generally low and slow, it has been suggested in some quarters that the pitches in Australia will provide far more encouragement to the home side's seamers. The groundsman at the Gabba, Kevin Mitchell, told the Courier Mail that his pitch would be "pretty different" from those used in England and would "definitely have a tinge of green" in it, while Darren Lehmann, the Australia coach, promised pitches that would "speed up" and where "those nicks will carry and you'll be able to bowl them out quicker."

But while Australia's seamers may well prefer their home conditions, they will also be to the liking of England's. And, bearing in mind that England's opening seamers currently sit at No. 1 (Stuart Broad with 45 wickets) and No. 2 (Anderson with 41) in the Test wickets tally for 2013, Anderson is confident that England have the bowlers to exploit any assistance. Graeme Swann, England's offspinner, is at No. 4 in the table.

Memories of bowling to Sachin

  • "He is one of the few people who, even while you're in the field watching him bat, you're in awe of him. He was daunting to bowl against. He had every shot around the ground. It was the way he manoeuvred the ball and the time he had. He always had a special innings in him. I recall a match-winning innings he played against us in Chennai. Not many players in the world could have produced that innings. He was always the wicket you wanted most.
  • "There was never a specific plan when bowling to him. With other players, you spot a flaw and you aim to exploit it. But he didn't have any flaws. We just tried to hit the top of off, build some pressure and hope he would make a mistake. To have got him out more than anyone else in Test cricket is amazing. I'll look back on that stat with great fondness when I retire."

"We'll love it if the pitches are more helpful," Anderson told ESPNcricinfo at a Slazenger event. "Over the last few years, wickets around the world have become flatter and flatter. And in England they've gone especially flat.

"So to go somewhere where they produce something in them for bowlers, we'll be delighted. It's 100% a good thing as far as I'm concerned. Hopefully with the bowling unit we've picked, we'll be able to make the most of it."

While Anderson accepted that conditions in Australia were slightly different, he felt that the experience of England's attack rendered them well prepared.

"Yes, they use a different ball in Australia, but it's not a huge deal," he said. "We use the Kookaburra ball loads of places and, although it's slightly different, the white ball we use in England is a Kookaburra and feels the same in the hand.

"The last time we went there, in 2010-11, the wickets had a bit in them for bowlers and I enjoyed it a lot. It doesn't swing for a huge amount of time, so having other weapons, such as reverse and consistency, is very important. Quite a few of us have played out there before, so I wouldn't anticipate too many surprises."

Anderson was particularly effusive in his praise for his new ball partner Broad, suggesting that, aged 27, he has time to improve further in the months ahead, and in Swann who, he felt, was likely to play a key role in the series, even if the pitches are designed to negate his bowling.

"People forget how young Broad is," Anderson said. "So he has time on his side. But it's great to have someone who can run through a side the way he does at times.


James Anderson, October 21, 2013
James Anderson is confident England have the bowlers to exploit any conditions © Slazenger
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"Yes, he can blow a bit hold and cold, but what you see at the moment is that spells he showed against New Zealand at Lord's and Australia at Durham will become more frequent and the spells in between will be more steady. He's aiming for more consistency and he's getting there.

"The guys in the team know how important Graeme Swann is to us. Even if the pitch doesn't turn, he bowls that attacking line outside off stump and there aren't many orthodox offspinners that are brave enough to do that. He does an incredible job with the bat and at second slip."

And Anderson had encouraging words for Graham Onions, who missed out on selection despite being the most impressive seamer in county cricket for the second season in succession.

"He's unfortunate to miss out," Anderson said. "I've experienced that, too, and it's tough to take. It's really tough on him.

"But if I was him, I'd try and find a positive angle. He's going to South Africa to play domestic cricket so I'd recommend he focuses on that. Then, if there are any injuries among our bowling unit, he could be in a better position than some of the people who were picked originally. He would be match fit and he could fly straight in to the side."

James Anderson will be using the Slazenger V100 ULTIMATE TAS bat during this winter's Ashes series, part of the new 2014 Slazenger cricket range available to pre-order in November. For more information on the Slazenger range for 2014 visit Store.slazenger.com

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by ScottStevo on (October 26, 2013, 0:43 GMT)

@Steve Back, you can have the greatest attitude in the world, but in test cricket, if you don't have the skill to back it up, it's meaningless. He looks a brilliant limited overs player, but I just don't see him being a threat to top order batsmen in tests. When you look at him, he's a medium pacer with no height, so he's not going to get bounce or scare them with pace, so unless he can get it swinging, I can't see him being a dangerous test bowler. He has his slower balls and cutters which will serve him well in ltd overs, but will be far less effective in tests. He's a good cricketer, but I just can't see him being a test match bowler of high quality...

Posted by   on (October 24, 2013, 16:19 GMT)

@ScottStevo: Faulkner's doing all right at the moment. I don't particularly like him but it's a bit early to say that he's definitely not Test quality. I've commented on his lippy nature before but I'll admit that his attitude has served him fairly well so far in his career. Maybe "attitude" is something that, say, Jackson Bird or Hazlewood maybe lack?

Posted by Snick_To_Backward_Point on (October 24, 2013, 14:59 GMT)

The conjecture over 'doctored' pitches is valid but IMO the main reason driver isn't down to giving home players the best advantage. The general global trend has seen lower, slower, flatter tracks by curators in order to maximise on TV revenues. In England we have a situation where too many grounds are putting in enormous bids for too few international tests and are therefore doing all they can to push tests into days 4 & 5 ergo more gate receipts & advertising revenue.

Posted by   on (October 24, 2013, 7:36 GMT)

I wonder whether the Australian curators aren't ill-advised to produce wickets that are "pretty different" from those used in England and will "definitely have a tinge of green". Consider the possible respective pace attacks - Harris, Johnson, Siddle and Starc/Faulkner against Anderson, Broad, Finn and Rankin/Tremlett. Even if it does not swing, the pace and especially bounce the three 6' 5" + England bowlers will get from a good to full length will be far more awkward for the Australian batsmen than any advantage their bowlers obtain from such wickets. It could turn out that the Aussie batsmen will be faced with a modern-day equivalent of batting against Garner, Walsh and Ambrose even if the tall England bowlers aren't as talented.

Posted by ShutTheGate on (October 24, 2013, 5:14 GMT)

There seems to be a divded opinion on whether Mitchell Johnson should be used for the Brisbane test.

If Glenn McGrath publicly states that he should definitely picked then I'm happy to go with that.

The difference in this series for MJ is that he can be used as an impact bowler instead of the spearhead. Leave it to Siddle and Ryno to build pressure and then bring MJ on to make an impact. It's a no brainer since Mitchell Starc is unavailable.

Posted by JG2704 on (October 23, 2013, 21:17 GMT)

@ SirViv1973 on (October 22, 2013, 18:40 GMT) Fair points , but I'd prefer our strongest back up bowlers out there. Obviously it's good that he's getting quality games under his belt but if the idea is to call him up for Jimmy (if Jimmy gets injured) that works well if he gets injured several days between tests but if it's a day or 2 before a test they're not going to be able to draft him in from SA

Posted by Mitty2 on (October 23, 2013, 0:01 GMT)

Oh and @landl47, I've always loved your Bird assessments, he's had two Shield seasons in a row of averaging under 20, bowled extremely well against SL on flat decks, and was still suffering from his stress fracture that he developed in India, but because he didn't take a wicket in one day of a tour match, because he's bowling 5km/h slower than he normally would because of his back injury and because he got hit from your lower order in the fourth test he must be rubbish. You'll find that once he recovers he'll develop into one of our most important bowlers and will be among the first selected. His record in England (including the A tour) he averages above 30 whilst in Aus he averages below 20... So you can't use the cliched 'he's more suited to Eng decks'

Posted by Mitty2 on (October 22, 2013, 23:52 GMT)

@landl47, I know you like assessing out bowling, but the more you do it the more wrong you are. No bowler in the world would have done well on that deck against Kohli and co, but no MJ deserves to be targeted. And sorry, what makes Faulkner a short form bowler, he averages around 22 in FC cricket? That on top of the fact that in his only test - on a flat deck - he took 6 wickets for only 98 and that at a strike rate of 27. No bowler could have asked for a better debut. Oh and I remember plenty of your comms regarding Harris and how he shouldn't have been selected, well look how that worked out... You kept on bringing up the irrelevant innings at boxing day where he got 0/90 - is he not allowed one bad day in his whole test career? Anderson has had plenty of bad days and a fey 0/100s this Ashes, but no comment from you on that. Harris had a phenomenal series and despite your constant, 'factual' assertions he didn't break down.

Posted by landl47 on (October 22, 2013, 22:12 GMT)

@ScottStevo: the problem with MJ was not that he got hammered by India on one of the flattest pitches I've ever seen. It's that he started bowling leg-side wides and half-volleys outside off-stump. As I said in my comment, on his day he's one of the best bowlers in the world (his bowling in the first innings at Perth in 2010/11 was brilliant), but he can also be erratic; 9 wickets in that Perth test, but 6 at an average of 78 the rest of the way.

I've seen Bird a few times and haven't been impressed. He bowls 82-84mph, no effort ball, no slower ball; doesn't swing it and doesn't use the seam well (his seam position is awful). He's accurate and tall, but I don't think he'll bother top-class batsmen much. I might be wrong.

Broad is the top test wicket-taker this year, with 45 in 10 tests. He's taken 130 test wickets @ 25 over the last 3 years, even with a couple of injury breaks. He's still only 27. I think he'll be England's top wicket-taker in the series, if he stays fit.

Posted by whatawicket on (October 22, 2013, 20:00 GMT)

the pitches in the ashes will be no different to whats been prepared over the last 20 odd years. Brisbane always looks a bowler pitch for the 1st 2/3 hours. then is a belter. the Aussies to make green pitches why ( when we can win the toss an bowl ) they fear our bowlers just as England would fear theirs, doing similar after the toss.

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