James Anderson speaks exclusively to ecb.co.uk about what was very much England's day
By Rob Barnett
James Anderson revealed that England’s outstanding bowling today came as a consequence of talking to their batsmen about how best to strike on the MCG pitch.
Anderson and Stuart Broad shared six scalps as Australia slumped to 164 for nine at stumps on day two, a first-innings deficit of 91.
The opening bowlers were well supported by Tim Bresnan, Ben Stokes and Monty Panesar in a consistently miserly display that was richly rewarded.
Anderson told ecb.co.uk: “As a bowling group, we spoke to the batsmen, trying to find out what the best way to go about taking wickets on that pitch is.
“They just said ‘if you stay patient and keep hitting the right areas, it’s difficult to score’.
“I thought we set the right fields today, we stuck to the plans and got rewards for it.”
England started the day on 226 for six but could add just 29 as Mitchell Johnson struck thrice in his first three overs for a five-wicket haul.
In the reply, aside from Chris Rogers’ battling 61 at the top of the order and in-form Brad Haddin’s breezy 43 not out, Australia’s scoring was severely limited by their opponents.
“It reversed a little bit. The odd one seamed,” Anderson added.
“There wasn’t a huge amount of movement and it was all about staying patient throughout the day. And I thought Cookie (captain Alastair Cook) set some really good fields and made it really difficult for them to score.
“I think the biggest thing was sticking to it the whole day and being patient enough to get rewards for it.”
Perhaps the moment of the day was Anderson bowling home captain Michael Clarke, who shouldered arms.
“(It was) a surprise at the time,” Anderson admitted.
“I was just trying to again stick to the plan and bowl in the right area and, whether it nipped back or swung back a little bit, it did a bit to take the off stump, which was nice.”
Anderson is refusing to get ahead of himself despite England being on top for the first time during a series in which Australia hold an unassailable 3-0 lead.
“We know we’ve still got a long way to go in this game, but we’re in a really good position,” he said.
“I think if we can knock them over in the morning quite quickly, when we get to bat again we’re going to have to get stuck in. And it might be slow going at times and a bit turgid but we’re just going to have to try to battle through and see where we can get.”