Anderson: 'I’m up there with the best’

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The Independent Online

Jimmy Anderson stood and watched while Graham Onions took two wickets with the first two balls bowled here yesterday but still had plenty to celebrate himself last night after finishing with his first "five-for" against Australia.

"It was probably a good decision because Graham likes to bowl long spells," said Anderson, who had to wait his turn to take over from Andrew Flintoff at the Pavilion End and get cracking with a swinging ball. "Giving him the first over gave him the chance to do that." Onions did not need much warming up, dismissing Shane Watson and then Mike Hussey to put England on a roll and himself en route to figures of 4 for 58. But it was Anderson who grabbed the glory by finishing with 5 for 80 after taking four wickets in 14 balls.

"If the ball is swinging and you bowl well, I think most teams are going to have to play very well to cope with it," said Anderson, who turned 27 on the first day of the third Test but had nothing much to feel good about as Australia reached 126 for 1.

All that changed yesterday, however. "It swung on Thursday but we just didn't bowl enough balls in the right area," said the Lancastrian. "We had a good, long chat when we got back to the ground and now we are in a very good position. We've just got to kick on with the bat."

Anderson now has seven five- wicket hauls in 40 Tests. But getting one against Australia, still rated the world's No 1 side, has to be special. "To perform against the best in the world is a good way of finding out where you're at," he said. "Getting wickets against the top teams is making me think I'm a decent bowler."

It was Onions who really rocked Australia yesterday, though. "I was a little bit surprised to be given the first over of the day with the high quality of bowling in our side, but it was something I needed and it couldn't have started any better for me," said the Durham man.

Just about the only cause for Australian cheer yesterday came when Ricky Ponting went to No 3 in the list of Test run scorers, going past Alan Border's total of 11,174 to move behind Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar.

"I'm proud of it but at the moment there's a bittersweet taste in my mouth because I wasn't able to go on and get a big score," said Ponting, who was Onions' third victim of the day after reaching 38.

"We started so well on the first day and I expected we would go on and post a good total but they got the ball swinging more than it has the entire series. Both Onions and Anderson bowled exceptionally well and it was no fluke that one of them finished with five wickets and the other four. But our ball is about as old as their one was when it started swinging so, hopefully, we can do similar sort of stuff."

As at Lord's Australia had little luck, with Mitchell Johnson denied a stone-dead lbw appeal against Ian Bell.