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Page last updated at 07:55 GMT, Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Ashes: Crucial period awaits England - James Anderson

Fifth Ashes Test: Australia 280 v England 167-3 (stumps, day two)
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground Dates: 3-7 Jan (resumes 2300 GMT each day) Coverage: Live on Test Match Special (from 2245 GMT) on BBC 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW & online; TMS highlights online (UK only) and day's review on the TMS podcast; live text on BBC Sport website; live on Sky Sports 1; highlights on ITV4
Match scorecard

James Anderson removes Brad Haddin
Anderson took four of Australia's last six wickets

England fast bowler James Anderson said the morning session of day three would be "crucial" in deciding the outcome of the final Ashes Test in Sydney.

Anderson took 4-66 as Australia ended with 280 from an overnight 134-4 and he came in as night-watchman when England replied with 167-3.

Anderson told BBC Sport: "The ball has done a little bit in the mornings.

"But hopefully I can play my part in getting some good partnerships together and try to build a decent lead."

Well used to his role as England's night-watchman, he added: "I enjoy it. Even if I'm not scoring runs, hopefully I can play my part in frustrating them."

Although Australia rallied with the bat from 189-8 to make a competitive total, Anderson was pleased with England's overall bowling efforts as well as his own. He now has 21 wickets in the series.

"When the opposition wins the toss and bats, it's not often you get them out for less than 300," he stated.

"We bowled really well and were really pleased to get them out for 280. I'm delighted with my form at the moment. It's nice to be making important contributions but all the guys are bowling fantastically well and it's showing in our results."

He said the Sydney pitch required batsmen to be "more wary" than on typical Test wickets and that Andrew Strauss, who hit 60 from 58 balls, "didn't go out there to enforce himself on them".

Anderson commented: "If Straussy sees a bad ball he puts it away. They probably bowled a bit short or a bit full."

laughing devil

Meanwhile Mitchell Johnson, who bolstered the Australia innings with an attacking 53 then captured two wickets, praised the captaincy of Michael Clarke, who is skippering the side in the absence of the injured Ricky Ponting.

"Michael probably gets out there a little more maybe from my side of things, he came up to me and spoke to me and I think he's been doing it to most players," Johnson said.

"He sent me a message the other night saying a few nice things and making sure I'm ready.

"He's doing a great job being confident around the guys and making sure they feel like we've done a great job."CPS:EMBEDDEDMEDIA id="9336807" size="small" caption="Johnson sympathises with Beer">

After recording his sixth Test fifty Johnson dismissed Jonathan Trott for a duck then tempted Kevin Pietersen to top-edge a catch.<

"What helped was actually getting the new ball, that gave me a lot of confidence," the 29-year-old said. "I think my pace was up again and I did swing the ball a little bit there and use the wicket.

"I enjoyed it, that's for sure, conditions suited me to bowl with the new ball and I'm always going to put my hand."

The Australians are hoping Johnson will repeat his superb display in the Perth Test when another quickfire fifty was followed by nine wickets in the match as the home side won by 267 runs.

"It's exciting to go out and score runs," he said. "It probably does give you a bit of a pump up. I suppose we'll have to wait and see."


Following the decision to refer Michael Beer's "dismissal" of Cook that proved to be a no-ball and denied the spinner a maiden Test wicket, Johnson revealed that the front line of the popping crease is not of paramount concern during practice.

"We always try to get behind the line but whether it is because you feel enclosed in the nets of something I don't know, but I still bowl half a foot over in the nets," he said.

"We need to try and find a way to fix these problems, whether it is doing more centre wicket practice or being more strict at training. It is obviously a problem we have and we need to fix it as soon as we can."

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see also
Cook builds England reply at SCG
04 Jan 11 |  England
Jonathan Agnew column
04 Jan 11 |  England
Justin Langer column
04 Jan 11 |  Cricket
Fifth Ashes Test day two photos
04 Jan 11 |  England
Tuesday's Ashes gossip column
04 Jan 11 |  Cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
England in Australia 2010-11
08 Oct 09 |  Cricket

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