James Anderson reflects on ‘more crushing Ashes defeats than good times’ in Adelaide

The Ashes

England’s James Anderson has almost two decades of mixed memories to look back on at the Adelaide Oval and is hoping to remember what should be his final visit for the right reasons.

Anderson first stepped out at the picturesque ground as a 20-year-old tyro in 2003 and will do so again in this week’s day/night second Test at the grand old age of 39, the most prolific and enduring seamer to have played the game.

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It will be his 10th appearance here across all formats, more than many international cricketers get at their home ground, but his five Tests have brought a cocktail of scars and celebrations.

The high point came on England‘s triumphant 2010/11 tour Down Under, when Anderson removed Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke in his first seven balls of the match to tee up a famous win.

Anderson’s best Test figures in Australia

Four years ago he claimed his best figures on Australian soil with the pink Kookaburra, taking five for 43, but that was in a losing cause, as were each of his previous three visits.

“There’s probably been more crushing defeats than good times, but I think it’s my favourite ground outside the UK,” he said on the eve of a match that he is expected to play a leading role in.

“I’ve had some great times here and some bad ones, too. But I have enjoyed every game I’ve played here. We played well in 2006/07 for a few days, then had a bad day to finish, and I remember a one-dayer in 2003 where I had one of my best games in England colours.

“Now we are hopeful of putting in a good performance to edge it over to more good games here than bad ones.

“It’s a great ground, steeped in history, and somewhere we love playing. It’s changed since I first played here, but the stuff they’ve done to the ground is fantastic. The atmosphere is great and people love their cricket in Adelaide.”

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Anderson’s absence was keenly felt in the series opener at The Gabba last week, when England determined he was not quite match ready after a rain-ruined build-up. Several Australian players greeted his absence with relief in a mark of respect he does not expect to be replicated once he is squaring up to them from 22 yards.

“Yeah, that was a nice surprise I guess, to see them saying nice things but I’m sure they’re not going to be saying nice things to me this week,” he said.

“The last couple of years I’ve been managed a bit more, missing the odd game to try to stay fresh, especially in a long series like the Ashes.

“That’s something I’ve got used to over the last few years but I’m just focused on my bowling and fitness being as good as they can be, so if the captain wants me, I’ll be ready.”