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Anderson shrugs off 'ridiculous' ball-tampering suggestion

James Anderson shrugged off accusations of ball-tampering in the Melbourne Test and set sights on ending the Ashes with a Sydney win.

01 Jan 2018, 02:59 IST
Anderson - cropped
England bowler James Anderson inspects the ball at the MCG

James Anderson waved away "ridiculous" accusations of ball tampering during the drawn fourth Ashes Test between England and Australia.

England have already given up the urn, trailing 3-0 ahead of the final match in Sydney, but regained a measure of pride by ending the Melbourne Test well on top thanks to Alastair Cook's brilliant 244 not out.

The tourists went about trying to bowl Australia out on a rain-delayed fourth day at the MCG, which quickly became notable for accusations that Anderson was tampering with the ball, after being caught on camera running his thumb down the shiny side of the leather.

Any suggestions of Anderson trying to gain an advantage seemed wide of the mark - reverse-swing would be boosted by tampering with the rougher side of the ball - and England's record wicket-taker responded wearily to questions about the latest controversy on a tour which has featured headbutts, flying drinks - all played under the spectre of Ben Stokes' absence.

"It escalated quite quickly, didn't it? It's ridiculous, but what we've come to expect," Anderson said of the brief furore that England's Australian coach Trevor Bayliss dismissed as "pommie-bashing". 

"[I was] getting dirt off the ball. They'd watered the square so the footholes on the old wickets had mud. We went to the umpires to make sure they were happy with it."

England avoided a successive whitewash in Australia with the Melbourne draw, but will hope to boost confidence further with victory at the SCG this week - something Anderson says will only follow with another stellar batting display. 

"I'd feel disappointed for this group if we didn't get a win on this trip because we've worked so hard," said Anderson.

"We have played well at times in all four Tests. It would be nice if we can carry that on and have one last push at Sydney and try to get a win.

"It would mean a lot to the lads and all the English support we've had over here. You see them just non-stop and it means a lot to us that sort of support.

"We've got to score more runs. We need big hundreds. We've seen in all the Test matches, the team that has won or got on top has been the one with people scoring big scores, big hundreds."

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