James Anderson lifts lid on Steve Smith chat immediately after Sydney heroics
James Anderson has revealed the details of his chat with Steve Smith after England's no 11 saw off the leg spinner to secure his side a dramatic draw in Sydney.
With Australia already 3-0 up in the Ashes, Pat Cummins and co went into the fourth Test at the SCG targeting a whitewash, a notion that appeared on the cards when Joe Root's side were left needing to bat out the final day.
However, they seemed set to defy their previous second innings collapse - bowled all out for just 68 in their crushing defeat in Melbourne - when the hosts still needed two wickets off the final 13 balls.
It was then that Smith removed Jack Leach, and after Stuart Broad blocked out an over of Nathan Lyon, came the fascinating scenario of Australia's most established batsman trying to dismiss England's most experienced bowler.
And despite his lowly Test match average of 9.27, it was Anderson who prevailed, negotiating the first five balls before easily tapping away Smith's final looping delivery.
The pair shook hands and appeared to share a joke afterwards, with the 39-year-old later explaining the exchange.
“Five balls from Steve Smith, he landed them really well, but the sixth – I don’t think Steve would begrudge me using the word ‘pie’,” Anderson told The Tailenders podcast.
“When I shook his hand I said ‘what was that?’ He said ‘the pressure got to me’.”" Anderson
During that final over, which Cummins and his fellow quicks were forbidden from being bowling as umpires warned of the fading light, the Lancashire man was dismissive of attempts from Broad to offer him advice.
“There was a moment when the umpires said it was too dark to bowl seam,” he continued.
“It was then I thought ‘I’ve got this. Spin is my absolute niche’. I absolutely love facing spin.
“I felt quietly confident going out there. If Pat Cummins had been bowling you’d have seen a lot more of the whites of my eyes.
“The minute I got out there Stuart Broad was telling me what to do – ‘get a big stride in, smother the ball, don’t let the bounce beat your bat’. I was like ‘it’s alright mate, I’ve played before, it’s fine’.”
Anderson, now on 640 Test wickets, will be expected to retain his place for the final Test in Hobart on Friday, but Jos Buttler is ruled out while there are fitness doubts over Ben Stokes and Sydney centurion Jonny Bairstow.