Anderson revels in England attack role

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The Independent Online

James Anderson has a handy alibi for skipping his early fatherhood duties - but those 'parenting' skills may come in handy in the third Test too, as leader of an inexperienced England pace attack.

Twenty-eight-year-old Anderson is happy these days to take on the extra responsibility of trying to get the best out of his fellow bowlers.



He may need to do a little overtime in Perth, with the injured Stuart Broad out of the equation and likely seam-bowling colleagues Steven Finn and Chris Tremlett boasting only 13 Tests - to Anderson's 54 - between them.



Anderson has already been swotting up on what may be England's best collective bowling tactics in Perth this week, on the long flight back to Australia after his trip home to be at the birth of his second daughter Ruby.



"I feel like it's part of my job as a bowler - and I see myself as the leader of the attack here, so it's important I think about what went right for us in the last two games and what we can improve on for this game," he said.



"I did plenty of that, as did the guys who were still here.



"They've thought about things we can improve on - we've spoken about it already."



Anderson does not yet know for sure who will be joining him and the improving Finn in the England attack, alongside off-spinner Graeme Swann.



But at a venue renowned for its extra bounce, 6ft 8in Tremlett must be a logical choice ahead of Yorkshire pair Tim Bresnan and Ajmal Shahzad.



"Tremlett has a massive advantage with his height, and might get some bounce out of the pitch," Anderson confirmed.



He does not discount the other two contenders, however.



"Bresnan is a very skilful bowler, who has made some valuable contributions with the bat in our one-day side.



"Ajmal Shahzad bowled fantastically well in [the tour match against Australia A in] Hobart.



"All three guys could do a fantastic job. I'm not sure it's that big a decision - and luckily I'm not the one who has to make it."



"Whoever replaces Stuart ... we've got three guys raring to go.



"They're all quality bowlers, and I'm sure they'll fill Stuart's shoes as well as they can."



As for his own well-being, following his globetrotting and his daughter's birth last Friday, Anderson has good news - having arrived back in Perth under 24 hours ago and less than three days before England begin their bid for the victory in Perth which would mean retaining the Ashes for Christmas.



"I'm feeling pretty fresh," he said.



"I've tried to stay on Australia time and I got about eight to nine hours' sleep last night.



"I trusted my body and when my body felt tired I went to sleep."



He hopes he will not be tossing and turning either, about being so far away from his young family.



"It's difficult leaving my family at home, but it's something I've had to deal with before.



"With the birth of my first child, I was there for a couple of weeks and then had to go off on tour."



While he is on his own, his team-mates' nearest and dearest have just arrived down under to celebrate Christmas with them.



"I quite enjoy seeing other people's kids, and it's quite nice having a family atmosphere around the team," he added.



"I'm getting daily updates from home through skype and photo messages.



"Many people, in whatever jobs, do have to deal with stuff like this.



"It's another thing I've got to cope with - and I'm sure I'll be fine.



"It's something we've got to deal with at some stage."



England have put themselves in a promising position, as they seek to win the Ashes in Australia for the first time since 1986/87, having won the second Test by an innings in Adelaide to go 1-0 up with three to play.



"My family and friends I saw [during his short stay at home] were complimentary about how we'd played so far and hopeful of going forward," said Anderson, who learned today that recalled Australia opener Phil Hughes cannot wait to take on England again.



"I'm not really too worried about what he thinks," he replied.



"The pitch will determine how we bowl at their guys.



"I don't mind what happens with them.



"We turn up on Thursday thinking about what we're going to do.



"We have plans for the guys they've brought in, but we'll concentrate on what we do."



England are wary, it seems, only of getting ahead of themselves - as some believe they did at Headingley last year, when they were one victory from clinching the Ashes but instead lost inside three days.



They put it right by winning at the Brit Oval instead.



But Anderson warned: "We've worked really hard to get into this position and we don't want to let that slip now - so we've got to work really hard this week.



"We're trying not to think about retaining the Ashes - we're concentrating solely on this game."



* Tremlett today received treatment for minor stiffness in his right hamstring, but is not thought to be in any doubt for the third Test.

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