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Pressure is on the Ashes teams to conjure magic, says Anderson

 

James Anderson
James Anderson

By Mark Walker

James Anderson believes England and Australia have a tough act to follow when the Ashes series gets under way next month.

The first Test starts at Edgbaston on August 1 with English cricket still in a state of euphoria after the thrilling World Cup final win against New Zealand.

England's record wicket-taker Anderson said: "I just hope that it's an entertaining series first and foremost for people watching.

"We've got a lot to live up to after that World Cup.

"If we can make it entertaining cricket, that's what both sides want to do, play entertaining, positive cricket. I just hope it's a good series for people."

Anderson is hoping to prove his fitness in Wednesday's historic one-off Test against Ireland at Lord's after being sidelined since tearing a calf muscle while playing for Lancashire earlier this month.

He watched in awe as Eoin Morgan's one-day side held their nerve to win the World Cup for the first time, but believes an Ashes series is the ultimate challenge in Test cricket.

"For both teams, if you asked both sets of players, they will say the Ashes is the pinnacle for them in Test cricket," he said.

"There's always some added spice around it, some extra bit of niggle and stuff like that on the field, which is really exciting and makes for good viewing."

Anderson, who will be 37 two days before the first Ashes Test, will embark on his ninth series against Australia. His 575 Test wickets are more than any other pace bowler and place him fourth on the all-time list.

England's World Cup star Jofra Archer is hoping to make his Ashes bow at Edgbaston - he will be rested against Ireland due to a side strain - and Anderson will relish the chance to help nurture his talent.

"As a senior player in the team you see that as your job anyway," Anderson added. "That's something that's happened for years.

"If a young guy comes into the team you try and help them settle and allow them to be comfortable and play in the way they want to play.

"He hasn't played much international cricket, but he's played quite a lot of franchise cricket around the world, which has given him good experience and exposure to the best players in the world in high-pressure situations. But still, to come into a World Cup final and deliver under that sort of pressure was amazing to see, especially for such a young guy."

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