Anderson: England yet to click
James Anderson believes there is a simple reason why England find themselves 3-0 down in the one-day series against Australia: they have not batted and bowled well in the same game.
The tourists have failed to marry meaningful performances in either discipline so far in the seven-match series, undermining their preparations for the World Cup, which starts next month.
In the opening match in Melbourne the batsmen combined to post 294, a record England score against Australia Down Under, only lose as Australia pulled off a record MCG chase.
In the subsequent games in Hobart and Sydney it has been the batsmen who have shouldered the blame for defeat, after being bowled out for 184 and 214 respectively.
"We just need to play better," Anderson said, ahead of his expected return to the team for Wednesday's must-win match in Adelaide.
"We've played good stuff but we haven't clicked with both bat and ball in the same game.
"Hopefully we can do that on Wednesday. We've played some good cricket but only in parts."
Anderson has had a watching brief for the three games so far after he was allowed home to rest following the Ashes, when he was the only England seamer to play in all five Tests.
After three weeks off the 28-year-old returned to Australia on Saturday and revealed he felt refreshed ahead of a busy schedule culminating in the World Cup.
"It was great to go home and see my family. It was also nice to get a break and rest the body and the mind," he said. "I needed it; my body certainly needed it after the Test series."
Despite England’s poor form, Anderson believes morale is just as high as it was during their historic Ashes success.
“I know we are 3-0 down but the dressing room seems just as positive as when I left,” he revealed. “They are still in good spirits.
“We are looking to Wednesday to be a good all-round performance with both bat and ball.”
Another defeat would bring an abrupt halt to England's run of six consecutive one-day series wins, and Anderson added: "Of course we don't like losing any games of cricket, let alone a series.
"Losing is not really an option for us on Wednesday because of the need to stay in the series.
"But the Aussies are playing pretty well at the minute and we've not quite hit our straps. We're looking to turn that around quickly. I don't think we are that far away.
"We've got a World Cup very soon as well so we have to get some form for that."
Adelaide was the scene of England’s innings-and-71-run victory in the second Ashes Test, the first of three comprehensive wins en route to a 3-1 series triumph.
Anderson took six wickets in the match and wants to ensure his recollections of the picturesque ground are not tarnished.
“I have nice memories from the Test here, but Wednesday is a completely different situation,” he said.
“We’re 3-0 down and we have a must-win one-day game. We’re hoping for more good memories here.”
Anderson is set to return to a depleted bowling attack that has been beset by injuries following a long tour of Australia.
Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann and Tim Bresnan, who was ruled out of the series yesterday, are arguably England's best one-day bowlers alongside Anderson, but all are sidelined.
That means Anderson's 133 one-day internationals mark him as easily the most experienced of the England seamers that remain.
Chris Tremlett, who was not selected in the World Cup squad, is the next most capped bowler with 11 appearances ahead of Ajmal Shahzad (seven) and Chris Woakes (one), while Steven Finn is yet to play a 50-over international.
"Hopefully I can bring a bit of experience and a bit of energy in the field," Anderson added.
"I think my experience can help. Having seen the first three games, I don't think we are far away from a win and turning the momentum around."
Switching his attention to the World Cup, Anderson admitted the absence of the bowlers he is likely to partner in the sub-continent is a slight worry.
Broad and Bresnan are expected to recover in time for the trip to Asia while Swann is scheduled to return before the end of this series despite his injury causing him discomfort.
Anderson joked today that the influential spinner had been "walking around like an 80-year-old" but, after feeling the benefits of a managed break, he expects his team-mates to be eased back in plenty of time for the World Cup.
"We have got a couple of injuries at the minute and it's crucial that we go into the World Cup with a full-strength squad," he said.
"The management have made good decisions in the past resting players so I'm sure they are going to do exactly the same leading up to the World Cup."