Anderson succeeds where batsmen fail

England

Fast bowler James Anderson delighted in a gradual recovery, as England assumed command on day two of the fourth Ashes Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday.

Fast bowler James Anderson delighted in a gradual recovery, as England assumed command on day two of the fourth Ashes Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday.

Resuming on an overnight total of 226 for six, the tourists slipped to 255 all out in the wake of left-armer Mitchell Johnson's telling five-wicket haul. Anderson and fellow right-armer Stuart Broad, later, reduced the Australian reply to a mere 164 for nine.

"We didn't start as well as we wanted to, we thought we had a chance of getting up to 300 with the bat. But we knew that it was a hard wicket to score on and if we bowled well we might get some reward, and we did," said Anderson.

"There are no demons as such in the pitch, it's just a pitch that is hard to score on. We just tried to be as boring and patient as possible throughout the whole day. Maybe in previous games we've got a little bit excited and carried away and gone away from our plan. That is something that we concentrated on this game."

The 31-year-old cherished a solid stretch of form earlier this year, as the English welcomed a three-nil series win over the Aussies in the United Kingdom. They have since slipped to the reverse result this month.

Anderson's form has been particularly concerning, with Friday's haul a stark comparison to the lean spells endured at the Gabba in Brisbane, Adelaide Oval and the WACA in Perth.

"I don't know really. I think this, today, is probably the worst I've felt rhythm-wise. I felt pretty good in the games beforehand, I've just not quite got the reward for it," he added. "I've been working really hard trying to check my seam position and if I'm swinging it enough and making sure everything is in order. I didn't feel great today but I got three wickets."

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