Anderson salutes England resolve
James Anderson hailed England’s powers of recovery as they responded to defeat at Perth in the most emphatic way imaginable on Boxing Day at the MCG.
Anderson and Chris Tremlett shared eight wickets as Australia crumbled for 98 before openers Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook wracked up 157 without loss at stumps.
The tourists’ utter dominance today was a far cry from their 267-run loss at the WACA, which levelled the series ahead of this Test and the Sydney finale.
Anderson emphasised England’s ability to respond to setbacks, as they did in winning the Ashes at the Brit Insurance Oval last year having lost the previous Test at Headingley Carnegie.
"We've been good at bouncing back strongly, so we didn't expect anything less - but to do it so emphatically probably wasn't on the cards," he said. "It's an amazing feeling."
Strauss won a crucial toss this morning in Melbourne, choosing to bowl first under cloudy skies that produced a shower at 58 for four - forcing lunch to be taken early and 45-minute delay.
The conditions were still very much in the tourists’ favour on the resumption and they accordingly finished Australia off with a display Anderson reserved high praise for.
“There was some grass there early on, a bit of seam movement and a bit of cloud cover as well so we did make best use of that,” he added.
"I thought it was probably our best performance of the trip as a bowling unit."
Anderson highlighted the importance of England’s bowlers finishing the job they started, having allowed Australia to recover from similar positions in this series.
He and Tremlett were ably supported by Tim Bresnan, making his Ashes debut in place of the rested Steven Finn.
"There's always a danger you'll get carried away when you're expected to get wickets, Anderson observed.
"But I thought we stuck at our task and kept the pressure on all day, asking questions.
"I thought we did it fantastically well. Even six down, we just kept on trying to create pressure. I thought it was brilliant bowling.
"Throughout the series, we've bowled really well - beat the bat a lot; we've had lbws turned down and created chances.
"Today was the day when all those bits of luck came together, and we got the nicks."
While those chances eventually told, Anderson had opener Shane Watson dropped in both of his first two overs.
The seamer’s opening spell went wicketless, but the edges he induced from then on were held.
"I felt in pretty good rhythm, but when chances do go down you do wonder if it's going to be one of those days again," he admitted.
"To bowl Australia out for less than 100 and then be 150 for none at the end of play is just unheard of.”
Anderson, who suffered minor soreness in his side at Perth, was spotted rubbing that part of his body during his second spell.
But he insisted he has had no discomfort and made it clear he was always determined to finish the job he started for England this winter.
"It's fine - it was probably just an itch," he said.
"I did have a bit of stiffness, but I'd have to snap in half before I wouldn't play in either of these last two games."
Anderson refused to countenance talk of an Ashes-clinching victory this early in the match, predicting the work awaiting England’s bowlers in Australia’s second innings.
"It is too soon, we have got a lot of hard work to do with the bat in the next day and hopefully more than a day,” he insisted.
"By the way of how flat the pitch has got this afternoon we are going to have to do quite well to bowl them out. It's going to be four days of really hard work."