Anderson: Tail must wag
James Anderson admitted England need to match Australia’s efforts with the lower order if they are to prevent suffering an Ashes whitewash in the final Test.
The Lancashire seamer was the pick of England’s attack on the third day at the SCG but could not prevent Australia progressing from a 103-run deficit overnight to claim a 102-run lead with Shane Warne hitting 71 and adding 75 for the last three wickets.
Those efforts gave Australia the momentum to reduce England to 114 for five by the close - a narrow lead of just 12 - with Kevin Pietersen unbeaten on 29.
“We need to put up a good fight tomorrow and we need to battle hard and have our tail wag like theirs did and if Kevin stays there for a while then hopefully we can get a reasonable total to bowl at,” said Anderson, who finished with three for 98.
“It is frustrating, we thought at the time we had a chance of getting those three quick wickets at the end.
“Obviously they had a bit of luck and a few play and misses. You get that at times and I just hope we can do a similar job.”
England were particularly frustrated by Australia’s eighth-wicket stand with Stuart Clark contributing 32 to a 68-run stand spanning nearly an hour which took them into a sizeable lead and increased their chances of enforcing a first Ashes whitewash since 1920-21.
“It felt to me that every time we bowled wide of the stumps to Clark he missed it and every time we bowled at the stumps he hit it so it can get quite frustrating,” admitted Anderson. “You try to bowl more or less how you bowl to any other batter.”
Anderson also confirmed there was genuine concern from both sides when opener Andrew Strauss was felled by fast bowler Brett Lee in the third over of England’s reply when he ducked into a bouncer and was hit on the back of the helmet.
He immediately collapsed, but recovered and played on for nearly an hour to score 24 after being examined by team doctor Nick Peirce and physio Kirk Russell.
Strauss was later sent for a brain scan, which came back all clear, and eased the concern about the potential injuries he could have suffered.
“He took a bit of a knock and he has got a bit of a lump, but he’s fine,” confirmed Anderson. “There were a few shouts for the physio when it happened and we were hoping there wasn’t too much damage done and he was ok.”
Warne admitted the Australian side were also conceded about his health and all went to check on his health before pressing on towards another emphatic victory.
“We were all concerned about him,” he said. “It hit him really hard and we all ran up and made sure he was ok and the helmet was ok.
“There was genuine concern from us to see if he was ok and once he was ok we went back and he played pretty well after that.”