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Anderson takes inspiration from former glories

James Anderson is invoking the spirit of 2010-11 as Alastair Cook's England set out to try and make Ashes history this winter.

There are only three days to go before the first Test in Brisbane, and Anderson is well aware morale-boosting memories of England's success in Australia three years ago can help spur the tourists on towards a fourth consecutive Ashes series triumph.

That, famously, has not been achieved by England since the late 1800s and the days of WG Grace.

No one needs to tell Anderson the scale of the achievement which may soon be within England's grasp, or the positive influence he and other senior players can have.

He is one of 12 - including the still injured but recovering Tim Bresnan - who return this time to try to add to the last win Down Under, England's first in almost a quarter of a century.


Anderson said: "The guys who have been here before, our job now is to try to pass that on to those who haven't played out here - and try to make them as relaxed as possible going into that first Test.

“We definitely try to remember the positive things, certainly here at the Gabba - and each ground we played at.”

England looked down and out here three years ago - until Cook, Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott produced a remarkable second-innings rearguard to close out an unlikely yet ultimately very comfortable stalemate.

Anderson recalls how he and Stuart Broad found conditions to their liking, if rewards were sparse.

“For the bowling group, we know there is going to be movement at some stage of this game - with it being humid, it might swing,” he said.

“There might be some life in the pitch we can try to extract. There are fond memories of the Gabba - and Australia as a whole.

“That's a good memory to have. Stuart and I felt like it was one of the best spells we'd bowled as a pair. We got a lot of movement, beat the bat and had some close lbw shouts... and didn't quite get a wicket.”

He and Broad will hope for similar performances from Thursday, although it remains to be seen who will complete England’s seam triumvirate, with a trio of tall men, Chris Tremlett, Boyd Rankin and Steven Finn, jockeying for position.

“I think all of them, the bowling group as a whole, have got better as the tour has gone on,” said Anderson.

“I think there was some rustiness (in the first warm-up match) at Perth. Certainly, I felt that as well.

“But as the preparation has gone on, we’ve all started to find some rhythm. I think it could be quite a tricky decision for the selectors.”

Their contest means the nets should be particularly spicy in the lead-up to the series opener.

“In my experience, the nets can be quite important,” added Anderson. “I’m sure the bowlers are well aware of that, and I wouldn’t really like to be a batsman facing them this week.”

There is good news for Australia, too, after Shane Watson bowled - conservatively - for the first time since he injured his hamstring in India. He is still expected to be deployed as a batsman only in the opening match.

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