Anderson's absence a huge plus for Australia - Ryan Harris
Recently retired Australian pacer Ryan Harris feels that his team will benefit enormously from England pacer James Anderson’s unavailability for the fourth Ashes Test beginning in Nottingham on Thursday.
Anderson, who has a terrific record at Trent Bridge, was at his devastating best during the Edgbaston Test as well, and Harris believes that Australia will be relieved at the 33-year-old’s absence, particularly at one of his favorite hunting venues.
“Not having him in their team is a bonus for us, for Australia,” Harris wrote in his Fairfax column.
“It's going to be huge.
“He's the leader of their attack, the guy who can come out and rip through a batting order, as he did in Birmingham, or he can tie you down by bowling dot after dot.”
With England just a step away from reclaiming the urn, Anderson’s exit, according to Harris may well prove to be a crucial point in the context of the series.
The previous Ashes encounter at Trent Bridge back in 2013 had saw seen Anderson snare five-wicket hauls in both innings to lead England to a convincing win.
“His absence is going to be especially big because it is at Nottingham.
“The last time we were at Nottingham it was a flat wicket that offered reverse swing, and he's very good at that, very dangerous.”
Harris pointed out Anderson’s amazing accuracy as the biggest quality which England will miss going into the fourth Test.
While he seemed impressed with the rest of the England pacers, Harris opined that they can be dealt with by the Australian batsmen.
“Mark Wood, who will probably replace him because he is next in line, bowled reasonably well in Cardiff and he can do a job, Stuart Broad has been in and around, and Steve Finn came back and bowled very well,” he added.
“But Finn and Wood - and even Broad, the way he's gone - can be got at.
“They're going to miss Jimmy's consistency.”
Australia’s middle order has been woefully short of runs in the Ashes series so far and Harris feels that this may be the right time for them to strike back at the English bowlers.
Despite Anderson’s absence, Harris also hopes that Australia do not overdo their aggression while attempting to dominate the inexperienced England attack.
The 35-year-old pacer called for a more balanced approach from Australia’s batsmen advising them to treat the ball on merit.
“The thing for the Australian batters is being able to put the pressure back on their bowling attack, one missing Anderson, the one who can dictate and bowl dots and maidens.
“Getting at them doesn't necessarily mean going after them, coming straight out and hitting over the top.
“It's more so about keeping them out for long enough, and frustrating them by rotating the strike and not letting them get comfortable, that you can profit from the bad balls when they come.”
Australia are likely to make at least one change to the XI that played in the Edgbaston Test with Shaun Marsh expected to be back in the side.
© Cricket World 2015