Jimmy Anderson, after claiming his maiden five-wicket haul in Australia, revealed the desire to keep proving age is merely a number remains one of the major driving forces behind these golden late years of his record-breaking career.
Though the leading wicket-taker on either side during the victorious 2010-11 Ashes tour, Anderson had never raised the ball to an Australian crowd. But when Mitchell Starc mistimed a shot to mid-off at the tail end of the home side’s 138 all out, the 35-year-old got his moment.
“People keep telling me that I’m about to finish and retire but I want to show them I can keep going,” said Anderson, who now has 47 wickets at 15 apiece in 2017. “I’ve still got wickets left in me, wicket-taking balls and hopefully that can continue on this trip.
“Everything’s clicked. I’ve felt in good rhythm throughout the year, I feel like I’m bowling as well as I ever have and my body is in as good a shape as it ever has been. I’m loving playing cricket and so as long as I’m bowling well and doing myself justice I’ll keep playing.”
That the second Test remained intriguingly poised at stumps on the fourth day, with England 178 runs from their target of 354 with six wickets in hand, owed much to their all-time leading wicket-takers efforts after Steve Smith told his side to bat again under lights on the third evening.
Whatever the end result, Anderson said England have shown fight and character. But having started brightly at the Gabba and faded – and then begun slowly in Adelaide before a surge – his words mean little unless such performances can be strung together.
Anderson added: “At some point we’ve got to start learning form the positions we get ourselves in. We were in strong positions in Brisbane and didn’t capitalise. We’ve come here and we were way behind the game. We’ve shown that’s not a fair reflection on how good we are as a team.
“We’ve come back and shown people that we can compete with Australia and we can cause them problems with bat and ball. It is a case of doing it for longer periods of time and not just a day here and a day there.”
A huge plus for Joe Root’s attack is the stifling of Smith in Adelaide, having watched him strike an unbeaten 141 in the first Test before a change of tack – chiefly getting the Australian captain into a verbal battle – has returned scores of 40 and six.
On this, Anderson explained: “I think it did work because we got him out quite cheaply. I think picking the right time to do something like that to get someone out of their little bubble and unsettle them is a good thing. Steve seemed more interested in chatting to me and Stuart [Broad] than focusing on his job. So that was a job well done from our point of view.”
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