Veteran England pacer James Anderson believes that declaring the first innings at 393/8 late on Day 1 of the Ashes 2023 Test at Edgbaston was a ‘positive’ move by skipper Ben Stokes.
Following the defeat, the skipper captain faced some criticism, with many believing that the hosts’ declaration had come back to haunt them. Anderson, on the other hand, opened up about his conversation with Stokes at the time of declaration.
Here’s what Anderson had to say about Stokes’ decision to declare early in his Telegraph column:
“I had my pads on waiting to bat when Ben declared. He said he would have declared in the same position against any team in the world so why should it be different in an Ashes series? It was a positive move.”
He also discussed the mentality instilled in the England team by head coach Brendon McCullum, which is to play entertaining cricket without regard for the outcome. The veteran pacer was pleased that England continued to play the same brand of cricket that they had been doing for a year despite the importance of the Ashes.
“After day four Brendon McCullum said we had won already regardless of the result because of the reaction from people about the way we played, and the fact we had stuck to our style.
The first morning felt different to games we have played over the past 12 months. There was more tension, more pressure, but once we settled into it we played exactly how we have been for the past 12 months and Ben and Brendon were proud of that.”
Anderson has admitted that the Edgbaston pitch for the first Ashes Test was “like kryptonite” for him, with little to offer fast bowlers, and that he would be “done” if the conditions for the remaining four games were similar and provided little assistance.
The 40-year-old, who was playing his first match since returning from an injury during the County Championship, admitted that his body felt rusty during the game but also mentioned that the docile wicket played a role in his poor performances.
Experts have questioned Anderson’s lack of preparation for the Ashes after he missed the recent Test against Ireland after injuring his groin while playing for Lancashire in May. He explains that he experienced some stiffness during the five Ashes days, but that the conditions also played a role.
Anderson finished with figures of 1-109 in 38 overs during England’s nail-biting two-wicket defeat to Australia earlier this week, and his poor performance meant that he was not trusted with the new ball in the dying stages of the Test match. The talismanic quick bowled the fewest overs of England’s three main seamers, and his economy rate in the second innings was higher than three.