Crowd are right to boo Australians, claims Anderson

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The Independent Online

Far from buying into the ECB diktat that the English public must start affording Mr Ponting the utmost respect, James Anderson yesterday said that the treatment dished out to the Australian captain from the Barmy Army at Edgbaston was all fair and above board.

Ponting's arrival at the crease in the second innings in Birmingham was greeted with a chorus of boos and his departure five minutes later with cheers. Despite the Australian captain's stellar reputation, though, Anderson sees no harm. "I don't object to the booing of Ricky Ponting at all," the England swing bowler said. "We get booed – and worse – when we go and play in Australia so I'm fully behind it."

Anderson also gave his backing to the England supporters who he feels have been unfairly criticised for their so-called boorish behaviour. "I haven't found the crowds irritating at all. I've enjoyed it. The atmosphere at every ground has been fantastic. When the crowd are singing along it makes you want to win just that little bit more and play harder. I hope it continues that way at Headingley and The Oval."

The bowler hopes, however, that Michael Clarke does not continue in the same way as he did in Birmingham. The Australian batsman was largely responsible for leading his side to the safety of a draw with an unbeaten century.

"We have put some plans in place all the way through the series for all the Australian batsmen, but Michael Clarke is just in a good run of form at the minute. We just need to stick to our plans and hope they come off. A couple of ducks for Clarke at Headingley would be great.

"We were disappointed with the final day at Edgbaston as we desperately wanted to win the Test. But the pitch became flat and slower and slower as the game went on. But we can take heart because we had the better of things for the majority of the Test.

"We've done well so far but we can't afford to get complacent. They are too good a side for that. At the start of the series I wouldn't have predicted we would be 1-0 up with two to play. But I guess we knew the series would be tight and that it would be in the balance at this stage. If you look at the Cardiff Test and the Edgbaston Test they could have gone either way, they could have been draws or victories. So to be 1-0 up, we're all very happy with that," he added at a Betfair sponsorship function.

And is he happy with being talked about as the best swinger in town? "I knew I was bowling well at the start of the series and I just wanted to carry on that form but I didn't think it would go as well as it has. We are hoping for swing here but you just can't tell what the ball is going to do until the day. I hope it swings but we have to prepare as though it won't and then if it goes it will be a bonus."