Anderson 'felt quietly confident' about batting out a draw for England

James Anderson admits he ‘felt quietly confident’ about batting out a draw for England during fourth Ashes Test once Australia had to bowl spin due to bad light – as seamer reveals Ben Stokes’ side strain ‘already feels a bit better’ in boost ahead of Hobart finale

  • England avoided an Ashes series whitewash after drawing the fourth Test
  • James Anderson batted out the final over in Sydney to deny Australia victory
  • Ben Stokes is hopeful of playing in the fifth Test despite suffering a side strain 

James Anderson says he was full of confidence that he could survive the final over and secure England a draw in the fourth Ashes Test in Sydney.

The 39-year-old is renowned for his bowling, as England’s all-time leading wicket-taker, but not so much for his skills with the bat.

However, he successfully negotiated the final over from Australia’s part-time spinner Steve Smith to earn a draw on 270 for nine, after they had been set 388 to win, and salvage some pride for an England side already 3-0 down in the series.

James Anderson (left) was confident in his own abilities to help England draw in Sydney

‘There was a moment when the umpires said it was too dark to bowl seam,’ Anderson told the Tailenders podcast.

‘It was then I thought “I’ve got this. Spin is my absolute niche”. I absolutely love facing spin.

‘I felt quietly confident going out there. If Pat Cummins had been bowling you’d have seen a lot more of the whites of my eyes.

‘The minute I got out there Stuart Broad was telling me what to do – “get a big stride in, smother the ball, don’t let the bounce beat your bat”.

‘I was like “it’s alright mate, I’ve played before, it’s fine”.’

Anderson also revealed what he said to Smith at the end of the match, after fluffing his lines with the final delivery.

‘Five balls from Steve Smith, he landed them really well, but the sixth – I don’t think Steve would begrudge me using the word “pie”,’ Anderson added.

‘When I shook his hand I said “what was that?” He said “the pressure got to me”.’

Anderson batted out the final over of the fourth Ashes Test to help England avoid a whitewash

England all-rounder Ben Stokes is hopeful of being fit for the fifth Test in Hobart despite a side strain, according to Anderson.

Stokes suffered the injury to his left side in Sydney but will travel and be assessed before the day-night series finale begins on Friday.

‘He’s already saying that it feels a bit better,’ Anderson said.

‘Even though we’re 3-0 down. It would be very easy for him to say “I’ve pulled my side, I’ll go home and get it sorted”. He’s still got his sights on playing that fifth Test.

‘It shows what playing for this team means to him.’

Ben Stokes is currently dealing with a side strain but is hopeful of playing in the fifth Ashes Test

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