James Anderson reflected on England’s “outstanding” bowling performance against a Cricket Australia XI but admits he cannot say the same for the batting collective just yet.
Anderson’s new-ball colleague Chris Woakes (four for 17) bowled England to the brink of a wide-margin victory in their penultimate Ashes warm-up match at the Adelaide Oval.
Instead, after their hosts recovered from the embarrassment of 25 for seven to 70 without further loss, Joe Root’s men must reconvene on the final afternoon to confirm their superiority in this pink-ball trial match.
That will surely be a formality, however, after Woakes blew away their top order in pursuit of 268 to win.
England earlier found their own trouble with the bat, mostly against first-change seamer Simon Milenko (five for 34) – losing four wickets for three runs to falter to 124 for seven, before Jonny Bairstow added an unbeaten 61 to Mark Stoneman’s 51 at the top of the order.
Asked first of all about England’s bowling, Anderson said: “It was outstanding, I thought.
“The three seamers bowled really well. We knew we had an important job to do, especially being a bowler down with Jake Ball injured.
“Having seen the movement the Australians got earlier in the day, we were encouraged by that.
“We knew we could challenge them, and that’s what we did.”
He is still scratching his head, however, as to why the pink ball seems so difficult for batsmen to handle once the floodlights come on.
“We’ve seen the batsmen struggle a little bit round the twilight period … there’s not much more swing, potentially it seams a little bit more as the dew comes down,” he said.
“(But) there’s not a lot of difference … it’s just getting used to that light and the pink ball.
“We just tried to stay patient … and we created pressure from both ends very well, and deserved those seven wickets.”
England were less convincing with the bat, notably Alastair Cook who struggled to 32 from 85 balls for his highest score of the tour so far.
“Some batsmen have got some really good time out in the middle; there are some guys who haven’t,” added Anderson.
“The batsmen’s form isn’t too much of an issue now, as long as they are scoring runs in that first Test at the Gabba.”
Reflecting further on England’s second-innings collapse, he said: “It’s not ideal … (but) we hope we’re getting it out of the way before the Test series starts.
“It’s something we’ve got to look at and probably have a chat about after the game – why it happened and what we could have done differently to stop it happening … stop it happening again.”
Anderson was confirmed before start of play as England’s new vice-captain for this tour, in place of the absent Ben Stokes – still at home, waiting to hear if he will be charged with actual bodily harm after a late-night fracas in Bristol in September.
On his new status, Anderson said: “It’s a really nice thing that Joe (Root) has asked me to do.
“I don’t think it changes my role in the team.
“As a senior player, I’ve always felt that I’ve a responsibility to help out other guys.”
England are expected to provide a further update on Ball’s sprained ankle on Saturday, following scans on the seamer’s injury.