Jimmy Anderson finally produced the penetrating bowling Australian fans expected him to bring Down Under on this Ashes tour, taking three big wickets in a dominating England attack on the second day of the fourth Ashes test.
“I felt terrible today. I didn’t have any rhythm,” he said after dismissing David Warner, Michael Clarke and George Bailey to return figures of 3-50 as England left Australia floundering at 164-9 on Friday.
“I’m sure I’ll make a lot of the highlights for the wickets, but I felt really frustrated at times,” he added. “The other guys bowled brilliantly -- (Stuart Broad) especially. So hopefully tomorrow we can finish them off quickly.”
Anderson had only taken seven wickets in the first three tests this Ashes series and his performance have paled in comparison to the express pace of Australia’s Mitchell Johnson.
“The frustrating thing is not getting the ball swinging as much as we would have thought and there has not been as much seam movement as there was last time here,” he said. “I thought I’ve bowled reasonably well but just no rewards.”
With one wicket to take on the third day, England’s challenge now is to build on its first-innings 255 with the bat and produce a match-winning target.
“It’s going to be difficult for us. We’ve seen how difficult it is to score on there,” he said of the Melbourne Cricket Ground wicket. “It might be slow going for us tomorrow, but if we get stuck in hopefully we can get a reasonable lead.”
The cricket world was shocked by the sudden retirement of Anderson’s teammate and friend, spin bowler Graeme Swann just days before the fourth test, but Anderson said the team has put that behind them.
“He was a big character in our dressing room, but we have other big characters there as well,” he said. “As harsh as it sounds, he’s been a good friend, but we’ve got to move on and we want to get something out of this test match and the next test match.”
As for his own future, Anderson plans to be part of the England line-up for some time to come.
“I’d like to carry on playing for a bit. Just because Graeme’s gone, I have other friends in the team. I am really enjoying being part of this team,” he said.
“It’s been a disappointing tour and I know we have a lot more to show people in our dressing room and I want to be part of it.”