Harmison lauds bowling attack
Steve Harmison praised the performance of England`s bowling attack after they restricted Australia to 188 for four at the close on day two of the fifth Ashes Test.
The tourists went into the match without in-form seam bowler Matthew Hoggard, who was ruled out with a a side strain, and are 103 runs ahead of their hosts, who have six wickets left.
Harmison bowled 16 overs in Hoggard`s absence, picking up two wickets for 34, while James Anderson got though 17 overs claiming one for 55.
The Durham paceman singled out Anderson, who also ran out Australia captain Ricky Ponting with a direct hit from mid-on, and left-arm spinner Monty Panesar for special praise.
“When you lose your best bowler of the series it’s up to the other bowlers to step up a little bit, and we hope that’s what we’ve tried to do,” said Harmison.
“Jimmy (Anderson) bowled well, Monty (Panesar) bowled well - and I felt I got better as the day wore on.
England would have expected a fit Flintoff to tear in with only 11 overs remaining after a short rain delay - but once again he stood directing the field while Anderson, Harmison and Panesar were hit for 35 runs.
“I think his ankle is fine. It was just that Jimmy and I were bowling well, and the rain break came at a good time for us,” said Harmison.
“Today I struggled a bit for rhythm but I have got a lot more confidence coming from the fact I didn’t feel great but still put the ball in a good area.”
“It’s nicely poised; it’s a good time to have a break and recharge the batteries and come back tomorrow.”
Veteran seamer Glenn McGrath was equally pleased after claiming 3-67 in an England total of 291 all out which featured a slump of six wickets for 45 before lunch.
“The Test is reasonably evenly poised,” he said.
“The first session is quite important - and if we can get through that without losing any wickets or not too many and get some runs on the board then I’d say we’re in front.
“We felt this morning that if we could take a couple of early wickets we could do some real damage - and as you saw it was six for 50 odd, so you can’t complain.
“I was pretty happy with the way I bowled. It was a bit of a frustrating first innings for me, with so many play and misses. But controlling that and remaining patient was important, and to walk off with three wickets I was pretty happy.”