Anderson still eyeing England victory

James Anderson bowls during day three of the Ashes Test match at the Adelaide Oval
James Anderson bowls during day three of the Ashes Test match at the Adelaide Oval

James Anderson believes England can still win the second Test after they staged a final-session fightback against Australia on day three in Adelaide.

A defiant unbeaten 41 from Craig Overton helped them to 227 but Australia then decided against enforcing the follow-on, James Anderson and Chris Woakes deservedly bagging two wickets each under lights as the hosts closed on 53 for four – 268 ahead.

Lancashire ace Anderson said: “I think we’ve got to look at it positively if we can bowl them out cheaply, which we’re going to have to do. We feel like we can chase anything down.

“The pitch has not got any demons in it. There’s no lavish sideways movement or anything like that or up-and-down movement. It was all swing today.

“We’ve got a lot of hard work still to do with the ball and then if we can bowl them out cheaply we can get these runs in a good chase.”

The 35-year-old, though, was surprised at just how much the England pace quartet got the pink ball to swing under the lights.

He said: “We weren’t expecting as much swing as we got there. Under lights it did a lot more than we expected. Even when it’s doing the amount it did you’ve still got to get the ball in the right areas.

“I think we learnt from the first innings. We didn’t quite bowl full enough in the first innings so we made a point of trying to get it up there and find the edge, get the lbw’s which we did. And I thought we deserved the four wickets today.

“I think there was a lot of disappointment after our batting performance, frustration was in there and we wanted to show that we’re not just here to roll over and we needed to show a bit of fight and get ourselves back into this game because we didn’t do ourselves justice with the bat.

“We all did that. The fielders all did a brilliant job and all four bowlers did a fantastic job too.”

And Anderson paid tribute to Overton after his fighting debut innings in Test cricket.

He added: “It was his first run on tour as well which he was glad to get under his belt. I’m delighted for him, he did a fantastic job in the first innings.

“It’s not easy bowling 35 overs in your first innings in Test cricket and then with the bat they threw everything at him and he dealt with that.

“He looked cool and calm under the pressure. It’s good signs from our point of view to have someone like that in our team.”

Australia bowler Mitchell Starc does not believe the momentum has changed despite England’s rally.

Starc said: “Obviously we’ve got a big lead ahead of us. It’s not ideal to go to stumps four down but at the same time we’re 260 ahead and we’ve had a good day in the field and England have only faced 10 overs under lights.

“They’ve got two big night sessions ahead of them if they want to win this Test match so I’d still very much prefer to be in our changing room compared to theirs.”

Australia captain Steve Smith’s decision not to enforce the follow-on took many by surprise but Johnson feels it gives the bowlers a chance to recharge their batteries.

He said: “No debate. It was purely up to the skipper. There was no conversation with the bowlers. They’ve still got to face two sessions under the lights.

“There are pros and cons to both sides of the story and it gives the bowlers a chance to rest and come out firing in the second innings.

“A bit more rest gives us the chance to come out and bowl a little bit quicker and put England under the pump big time.”