James Anderson anticipates big battle with Steven Smith during Ashes

The Ashes
Steven Smith and James Anderson

England fast bowler James Anderson is looking forward to a renewed battled with Australian batsman Steven Smith during the Ashes series later this year.

Smith has been relatively prolific against England in Test cricket, while Anderson has become the third-highest wicket-taker in the history of the longest format of the international game.

Anderson vs Smith

“As a bowler you always look at the best player, and for me over the last three, four or five years, Smith’s been Australia’s best player,” Anderson told Fox Cricket’s Road to the Ashes podcast.

“He’s been the one they rely on for their volume of runs, obviously supported by guys around him like David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne recently. But he’s been their go-to in the last few years, so he’ll be the one that we will be keen to get out early.”

The five Tests for the 2021-22 Ashes series will be played in Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. Anderson has taken 60 Test wickets in Australia – and 632 in total.

“We’ve got to start well. The Gabba in particular is huge for us. If we can get one-up on a few batters early, then that can have a real snowball effect throughout the series,” he added.

“Bowling in Australia is not necessarily more difficult, it’s just different. In England the Dukes swings more often than not, and with the wickets we play on, you can get some seam movement as well.

“But you’re not going to get much swing with a Kookaburra, so it’s just about trying to hit good areas in the Ashes. You’ve just got to be relentless, and so accurate. And that’s where people do struggle.”

Also read: Chris Woakes not distracted by Ashes during T20 World Cup

Anderson vs Kohli

The 39-year-old Anderson will go into the Ashes series on the back of four tough Tests against India earlier this year. He managed to dismiss Indian captain Virat Kohli twice in seven innings during that series.

“This summer was probably my favourite contest with Virat. “We’ve had a few good battles over the years, both in England and India, but this year was certainly my favourite,” concluded Anderson.

“I got him out a few times but also he got some runs as well, and we had a battle on the field where there was definitely a mutual respect there. It was in a really nice manner, if that makes sense. Obviously, we were going at each other, but it was in a well-spirited way. So I really enjoyed that.”

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