Anderson delights in England display
James Anderson hailed “two brilliant bowling performances” by England after they kicked off their tour of Sri Lanka with a convincing innings-and-15-run triumph over a Board XI at the R Premadasa Stadium.
Anderson struck thrice today - en route to match figures of 7-40 - as the hosts were skittled for just 119 in their second innings.
While England can expect much stiffer opposition when the two-Test series begins at Galle in nine days time, the Lancashire seamer feels first-class fixtures such as this tour opener provide perfect preparation.
And he was thrilled with the overall display of an attack featuring two spinners in Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar, along with Steven Finn, a late replacement for the injured Stuart Broad.
Panesar returned 5-37 on day one, while Swann and Finn each matched Anderson in picking up three wickets as the Board XI failed to overhaul a first-innings deficit of 134.
“I thought it was a pretty good three days for us both with bat and ball,” said Anderson of a match that also featured an unbeaten 163 from England opener Alastair Cook.
“We couldn’t have asked for more and I thought they were two brilliant bowling performances in both innings.
“There are sterner challenges ahead but all we can do is play what is put in front of us. We know full well it is going to get harder throughout the tour with the heat and the opposition.
“(First-class cricket) is a much better way for us to prepare for a Test series rather than playing a 13 versus 13 where you don’t get that same intensity.
“We’ve shown over the last three days that we’re trying to simulate as much as we can the way we’re going to play in Test matches. We want to play with the same intensity.
“We knew we were going to experience different conditions here from those that we experienced in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, but we have really worked out ways of how to bowl on these pitches. Hopefully we can take that form into the Test series.
“We have not played too much with two seamers and two spinners, but it worked well in the United Arab Emirates and hopefully it can continue to work here."