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Ashes Tour Diary: James Anderson Finds His Niche and Beats Through Steve Smith’s ‘Pie’

After Jimmy Anderson had shared a beer with his teammates, he returned to the team’s hotel to record an emergency edition of his BBC Tailenders podcast, starring Greg James and Felix White.

It was a classic episode in which Anderson, maybe a little cheerful, took us in some very entertaining final minutes in Sydney.

Asked about Ben Stokes’ injury and dismissal, he brought up the SCG locker room – “what’s left of it” – and revealed that he let some of his teammates sing Backstreet Boys to record the podcast.

And then there were his six-ball sleeves.

“The whole time that Jonny Bairstow was in the bottom of the wave I was thinking, ‘We have this,’” he said. “It wasn’t until he came out that I thought I should strike.

“I’ve been in this situation a lot before. The best place to be in this situation is in the middle, because that’s where you are in control.

“There was a point where the referees said it was too dark for the bowling alley. That’s when I thought, ‘I’ve got this. The spin is my absolute niche ”. I love to deal with the rotation.

“I felt quietly confident going out there. If Pat Cummins had bowled you would have seen a lot more the whites of my eyes.

“I was thinking clearly. I knew it was just a spin that I was going to face. I even took off my chest protector and arm protector to feel more comfortable and so the ball wouldn’t bounce anywhere towards the men around the bat.

“The minute I got out, Stuart Broad told me what to do, ‘Take a big stride, choke the ball, don’t let the bounce beat your bat.’ I was like, ‘That’s good man, I’ve played before, that’s good’.

“Five balls from Steve Smith, he landed them really well, but the sixth – I don’t think Steve would fault me ​​for using the word ‘pie’. When I shook his hand, I said, “What was that? He said, “The pressure hit me. “

Stay safe

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Sam Billings has passed two Covid tests and is in the English camp.

He was playing for the Sydney Thunder, which suffered an outbreak around the New Years Eve, which led him, along with Saqib Mahmood – who returned home to go to the West Indies T20 tour – to make the decision to be very safe.

“Saqib and I were pretty honest with each other a few weeks ago,” he recalls. And said, ‘We don’t want to jeopardize our chances in the West Indies, let’s try to be as reasonable as possible.’ So we spent some time together sharing cars and things like that. We even asked the guys to Thunder if we could have a separate locker room.

What will the conditions be in Hobart?

Hobart has been inundated with rain lately, leaving the Bellerive Oval underwater.

It will not help the preparation of the pitch; the ground is expected to be very flat, to get so many days of cricket having spent so much money to secure the test.

Feeling of pain


One person who won’t be there is hometown hero Tim Paine, who is reported by The Age as being on vacation on the freeway.

His replacement Alex Carey is in trouble, but will keep his place. The big decision for Australia this week is how to place three two-runner hitters. Poor Travis Head missed Covid in Sydney, then watched Usman Khawaja stroke historic twin tons.

Marnus loves cricket

Marnus Labuschagne can be a bit of a hassle, as he reminded fans on the last day when his absurd appeal ensured he would never be welcome in conversations about Australian brains trusting critics. Say whatever you want about Marnus, but there’s one thing you can’t deny about him, as he reminded us in a few post-game tweets.

First came one on the fifth night: “Day 5, last hour, all around the bat. Not a lot of things better than that. What a sport it is.

And then, on the morning of the sixth day, this beauty: “I love cricket. “

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