Cook reckons any tactic to pressure Anderson could backfire on tourists

England captain Alastair Cook has warned Australia that, as important as Jimmy Anderson is to England, it would be a mistake to disrespect the the bowlers around him.

Australia’s clear tactic in the first Test, later articulated by Brad Haddin, was to take down Steven Finn so Cook would have to bring Anderson back into the attack sooner than he wanted, and to force Anderson to bowl as many overs as possible. Haddin succeeded in taking down Finn but Anderson’s return proved his downfall, and Australia’s. The Lancastrian took 10 wickets, the last of which condemned the tourists to a 14-run defeat.

”It’s a bit disrespectful to the three other guys that are bowling,” said Cook of Australia’s plan to wear Anderson down by targeting the others. ”They are world-class bowlers as well in their own right. Clearly Jimmy is the leader of the attack at the moment but ‘Broady’ [Stuart Broad] is almost coming up to 200 Test wickets, ‘Swanny’ [Graeme Swann] has got 230 Test wickets and ‘Finny’ is the quickest Englishman to 50 wickets in terms of Tests. So I think that shows the strength in our squad. It was Jimmy’s game the other day, but last time we were at Lord’s it was Broady who got 7-44, so it can be a dangerous tactic.”

Anderson is expected to be fit for Lord’s after cramping towards the end of his match-winning effort in Nottingham, while Finn could lose his spot to Tim Bresnan or Graham Onions after returning match figures of 2-117 in 25 overs. England made a decent start in their plan to restrict Australia’s best batsman in Nottingham. Anderson saved his finest ball of all for Michael Clarke in the first innings, and the Australian captain was restricted to 23 in 70 balls in his 92 minutes at the crease in the second innings.

Clarke’s name is on the honour board at Lord’s and high on England’s hit list for this Ashes. ”Cut the head off the serpent,” Swann said before the series.

”It looks to me that England certainly are working on a plan to dry me up because through my career I guess there have been times when I got off to good starts, or quick starts,” Clarke said.

He has a formidable record at the famous ground. He fell nine runs short of a century in his first outing at Lord’s in 2005 and four years later struck 136 as he and Haddin dragged the Test into a fifth day. Cook said he was not disappointed that Clarke had promoted himself to No.4 in the batting, all the better to get him in against the newer ball.

”That is always the advantage of him batting higher up the order for us, if we can get him out earlier with the new ball,” Cook said.

Clarke has said it makes no difference where he bats, but there is a startling gap between his average at No.4 (22) and No.5 (63).

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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