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“In this series he’s seemed tired and flat”
Legendary Australia pace bowler Glenn McGrath has announced that England seamer James Anderson may be nearing the end of his Test career after his disappointing performance with the ball throughout the ongoing Ashes series.
Anderson has only taken 14 wicket at a disappointing average of 43.21.
“Anderson has been a little bit disappointing,” McGrath told Sky Sports. “I’ve got a lot of respect for him and I think he’s a great bowler.
“He had a very good series last time out here and I thought he had learned to bowl with the Kookaburra. But in this series he’s seemed tired and flat. It has been tough.
“I don’t know if he had a big workload going into this series or whether it’s just because the ball hasn’t swung and he doesn’t know how to take wickets.
“When it’s swinging he’s one of the best bowlers in the world, without a doubt. Time will tell where he’s at when he goes back to England.
“If he can lift himself when he gets a Duke ball, which he loves bowling with, and bowl well then he’s fine otherwise – who knows – he may be towards the end of his career.”
When asked about his thoughts on Australia’s performance throughout the series, McGrath said: “It has been incredible. I think it is one of the best performances by a bowling unit that I’ve seen. They’ve executed their game-plans really well, they’ve bowled consistently and their plans have worked.
“When they haven’t been taking wickets, they haven’t been going for runs whereas England have still gone along at around four runs an over, even if they’ve taken wickets.
“By doing that you can’t create any pressure at all and that’s one thing the Australian bowlers have done; they’ve created pressure and they’ve really made it hard to score and they’ve taken wickets.
“I tend to think that this is nearly more impressive [than 2006/07]. They were the underdogs at the start of the series. England were favourites but after day two at Brisbane I was back to predicting my 5-0.
“The two guys I predicted would have a big effect on the series at the start were David Warner and Mitchell Johnson – I said he’s going to have a huge effect on this series. He has been incredible.
“When you’ve got someone bowling like that – with that pace and hostility – it’s amazing. He’s shown a lot more consistency than he has in the past. He’s had that X-factor; it lifts the whole team and has had the opposite effect on England. When the tail has come in, they’ve been blown away.
“Brad Haddin is the other man. Johnson is Man of the Series, but Haddin is a close second.”
McGrath also admitted that England all-rounder Ben Stokes will have a bright future in the game if he continues to take wickets and score runs.
“I’ve been impressed with Stokes,” he said. “I think he’s done a great job. He bowls at a deceptive pace – he’s up around that 140 km/h mark. He bowls good areas and hurries onto the batsmen.
“He’s been fairly consistent and he’s handy with the bat as well, so I think he’ll be a quality player for England for a long time to come.”
McGrath also conceded that he thought the ball would move around and swing much more than it has throughout the ongoing match in Sydney.
“I was here on the first with Craig McDermott and he said ‘we’re both coming out of retirement’ because there was so much grass on this wicket!” McGrath said. “It’s a good covering of grass, too. I’ve never seen so much here. I thought it might have seamed around a bit more but it has played ok.
“There has been a bit of inconsistent bounce. Some go through ok and others really bounce and take off. I’m wondering how Mitchell Johnson will go with the extra pace here. That extra bounce now and again can really unsettle you.
“The pitch will probably flatten out a little bit but I’m not sure about the inconsistency.”