I can still thrive when ball not swinging, says Anderson
Nottingham: Paceman James Anderson, who won the first test for England with match figures of 11-71 against Pakistan, believes he can be just as effective in the Ashes series in Australia when the ball is not swinging.
England thrashed Pakistan by 354 runs within four days at Trent Bridge after Anderson bowled unchanged for 11 overs on Sunday morning to exploit the swinging conditions. His performance elevated him to fifth in the world rankings.
Anderson, 28, was called the best swing bowler in the world by his captain Andrew Strauss and several other pundits offered similar praise but all with the pre-cursor ‘in the right conditions’.
He is unlikely to be presented with similarly helpful conditions in Australia, where on England’s last tour he took just five wickets in three matches at the remarkably high average of 82.60.
“One thing we’ve talked about is trying to concentrate on it (the ball) not swinging,” Anderson told reporters. “Our main aim is to bowl maidens, create pressure from both ends, if it swings we can bowl more attacking. (But) most of our focus in preparation for games has been based on the ball not swinging.
“Our job as seam bowlers is to bowl in good areas consistently and not give easy scoring shots,” he added. “When it is swinging it helps me more than the other two (Stuart Broad and Steven Finn). I do find it a little bit easier when it swings.”
In Australia, Anderson should get conditions to his liking in the first Test in Brisbane in November, and in the fourth test in Melbourne (late December) to a lesser extent. The other grounds of Sydney, Adelaide and Perth are more about either pace or spin.
One aspect that Anderson and the other England bowlers will be relying on is the continuation of England’s impressive and reliable catching. Only one half-chance was spilled in Nottingham when Graeme Swann dived full length and missed a one-handed effort.
Otherwise, the fielding was immaculate and in particular the slip cordon of Strauss, Swann and Paul Collingwood, whose two catches pouched above his head were described by Strauss as “half-chances”.
“The wicket was really difficult for the keeper and slips,” Anderson reflected. “When the catches did carry, they were going pretty quickly, so that was brilliant from everyone.
“Not just the three in the slips. We have a few other guys doing gully and slip practice and it’s all paying off at the moment.”