Third pace bowler spot is still up for grabs, says James Anderson

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“I think it could be quite a tricky decision for the selectors”

Despite England bowling coach David Saker hinting that Chris Tremlett will be included in the Ashes squad as the third pace bowler, James Anderson believes the spot is still up for grabs.

While Tremlett appears to have triumphed over his rivals, Steven Finn and Boyd Rankin, Anderson believes that all hope is not lost for the latter two as they still have the opportunity to change the national selectors’ minds.

“I think all of them, the bowling group as a whole, have got better as the tour has gone on,” Anderson said. “I think there was some rustiness (in the first warm-up match) at Perth. Certainly, I felt that as well.

“But as the preparation has gone on, we’ve all started to find some rhythm.

“I think it could be quite a tricky decision for the selectors.”

Anderson also called on the trio to give it everything they’ve got in the next couple of net sessions.

“In my experience, the nets can be quite important,” Anderson said. “I’m sure the bowlers are well aware of that, and I wouldn’t really like to be a batsman facing them this week.”

The 31-year-old added that the third pace bowler will not only have to support the two frontline seamers, but also put the Australian batsmen under immense pressure and take wickets as well.

“Our strategy as a bowling group is to create pressure, and take wickets (that way),” Anderson said. “That’s crucial not just for the third seamer but all three and the spinner to do. That’s our goal.

“We want to create pressure and have to take 20 wickets. Whoever plays will be selected to do that.”

Meanwhile, Saker has been keeping a close eye on Australia left-arm pace bowler Mitchell Johnson, especially after he tormented the Indian batsmen with his 150km/h deliveries.

“He bowled very well (in the one-day series) in India, but we know he is only one or two spells away from being quite erratic,” Saker said. “We know that if we bat well against a guy like that, we might get some good scoring opportunities.”

Saker was also quick to dismiss Johnson’s remarks about looking to target the ribs and throats of England’s batsmen.

“If he says he’s going to try to take batsmen’s heads off, that means he’s going to bowl short,” Saker added. “If he bowls short, he’s not attacking the stumps – so that’s a plus for us.”

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