Their woeful recent record against the hosts notwithstanding, English pacer believes his side can upset favourites Australia in their opening clash today
Melbourne: James Anderson believes England can pull off an opening-night shock when they begin their World Cup against favourites Australia in Melbourne today.
England’s James Anderson bowls during a net session at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) yesterday. Pic/AFP
England have lost all three tri-series games to their oldest rivals, including a 112-run defeat in the final, and have a woeful recent record against them in Australia.
But former Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne has already suggested that record will count for nothing in front of an MCG sell-out and Anderson agrees.
“There’s a genuine belief that we can surprise a few teams, we feel confident enough that we can beat anyone if we have our day,” he said.
“In a tournament like this it is all about qualifying for the quarter-finals and then you are three matches away from winning the World Cup.
“We’re really keen on getting off to a positive start tomorrow and hopefully everything else will take care of itself after that.”
Getting it together
England let strong positions slip through their grasp in their two most recent matches against Australia and Anderson admits that they can only hope to beat them with a more consistent performance.
“We played really well in patches,” he said.
“We know we have work to do probably in the middle periods both with bat and ball and at the death with the ball is something we’re still working really hard on.
“We’ve done some really good things in that tri-series. We got over 300 against Australia and couldn’t quite defend it, things like that are building confidence in our team. We’re hoping we can put things together tomorrow when it really counts.”
England will, however, not only have to take on a rampant Australia, but also a wall of sound from a capacity 90,000 crowd inside the MCG.
If Anderson is expecting a verbal volley from over the fence, he is not expecting any tetchiness on the field.
Anderson denied England would look to bait the hot-headed David Warner, saying: “Having played against him in the past I’m not sure he needs too much encouragement.
“We’re going to concentrate on what we do. Our job is to get him out, not to rile him up.”
Australia vs England: Star Sports 1, 3, HD 1 & HD 3, 09:00
George Bailey, Australia skipper
>> Continue their winning run against England.
>> Mitchell Johnson gets early wickets.
>> David Warner provides a fiery start.
>> Improve his batting form.
Eoin Morgan, England skipper
>> To better England’s poor record in Australia.
>> Own form with the bat to improve.
>> Dismiss Glenn Maxwell before he gets going.
>> James Anderson generates swing early on in the innings.