ENGLAND’S James Anderson highlighted the role played by bowling coach Ottis Gibson after the seamer rediscovered his most potent form to dismantle Australia on the opening day of the third Investec Ashes Test yesterday.
Anderson, who went wicketless in the second Test at Lord’s as the tourists levelled the series at 1-1, looked far more dangerous on a seaming Edgbaston pitch and returned Ashes-best figures of 6-47 as Australia were dismissed for just 136 inside two sessions.
The hosts then seized control by amassing 133-3 by the close, as under-pressure batsman Ian Bell, promoted to No3 following the axing of Gary Ballance, reached 53 before falling to off-spinner Nathan Lyon.
“I did some work with Ottis which has really helped, especially after a game where you get no wickets,” said Anderson. “After getting no wickets, the confidence takes a bit of a hit. You start thinking about the things you can do better, so it was good to do some work with him and get some rewards.
“I was happy with the way I bowled and the wickets but I feel like I can bowl better than that. There were a few poor shots so I think there is that possibility that we could bowl even better as a group.
“But it was a great performance from the team. We created pressure all the way through. It was great to get them out for such a low score. I thought the guys then batted really well and really positively.”
While Anderson’s devastating contribution was key to England’s dominance, the rejuvenated Steven Finn marked his return to Test cricket after a two-year absence with the pivotal wickets of Australian dangerman Steve Smith and captain Michael Clarke.
“Steve Finn has had a tough 18 months and he’s worked so hard to get back in the Test side, so everyone in the dressing room is delighted for him,” added Anderson. “I thought his first few overs were outstanding. He looked a threat throughout his spell.”
Australia’s main resistance stemmed from a knock of 52 from veteran opener Chris Rogers, before he became the first of two scalps for Stuart Broad, who overtook Derek Underwood to become England’s fifth all-time leading Test wicket-taker with 298 victims.
When England came to bat, Adam Lyth recklessly drove at a wide Josh Hazlewood delivery and was caught in the slips for 10 – the eighth time in nine Test innings that the Yorkshireman has failed to pass 40.
Skipper Alastair Cook scored 34 before a full-blooded pull off Lyon was somehow caught by Adam Voges at short leg, while the late wicket of Bell, who holed out to David Warner at midwicket, provided a crumb of comfort on a difficult day for Australia.
“I don’t think we batted well and I don’t think we bowled well either,” admitted Rogers.
“There is enough there in the pitch, we just need to get more balls in the right area and make them defend. We’ve got to be better.”