By Rob Barnett
The quality in England’s remaining batting at Brisbane should give the tourists belief that they can save the first Ashes Test, according to James Anderson.
Alastair Cook’s side have it all to do at 24 for two after three days, 537 behind Australia who declared their second innings at 401 for seven on the back of centuries from David Warner and Michael Clarke.
Warner hit his first Ashes hundred and Clarke his sixth, both scoring freely en route to 124 and 113 respectively, before Brad Haddin’s second fifty off the game boosted the total.
England then lost Michael Carberry and Jonathan Trott but, with Cook and Kevin Pietersen unbeaten and the likes of Ian Bell to come, Anderson has hope of a draw.
Speaking exclusively to ecb.co.uk, he said: “It’s our fault we’re in this position so it’s our job to get ourselves out of it and try and perform as well as we can tomorrow, show the fight and character that we have shown in the past and we know is in there.
“There’s a lot of quality still left in our batting line-up so we’ve got to try and still have belief as long as this game goes on and see where we get to.”
England can take confidence from their stunning rearguard at the Gabba three years ago when Cook, Trott and Andrew Strauss made three figures in a second-innings 517 for one declared.
“There are no demons in the pitch. There’s a little bit of spin, but nothing that should worry us,” Anderson added.
“It’s going to be a real big mental thing for us to bat as long as we can and, whether we come out with a draw or whether we lose this game, we know there’s a long way to go in this series. So showing some fight and some character tomorrow could go a long way in the rest of the series.”
Dismissed for 136 yesterday, England played with determination today, ousting Chris Rogers and Shane Watson early before Warner and Clarke briskly added 158 for the third wicket.
Having broken that stand, the touring bowlers chipped away at their opponents as Chris Tremlett ended with three wickets and there were two each for Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann.
“Obviously yesterday with the bat was a poor performance from us and I thought we really tried to fight our way back into the game with the ball, but with the pitch being fairly flat we struggled,” Anderson admitted.
“We bowled well in parts. I thought Swanny toiled away really well, Stuart Broad and Chris Tremlett today did brilliantly, but unfortunately with the lead that they had they could play with a lot more freedom.”
He added: “When you’ve got guys like Warner and Clarke and Haddin, playing with the licence that they’ve got today, the freedom that they’ve got, because they’ve got such a big lead, it’s difficult to contain that.
“But, like I said, I thought we did a decent job of it and now we’ve just to try and fight as hard as we can with the bat.”