James Anderson is backing his off-colour England pace colleague Stuart Broad to bounce back to form for the remainder of the Test series against India.
After England's surprise 10-wicket win in Mumbai to level the series at 1-1 with two to play - a performance Anderson rates as one of the finest in his time - the only negative vibes surrounded Broad. He declared himself fit, despite suffering with a virus on the eve of the match, and was then well short of his best in a contest dominated by spin.
Anderson managed only one wicket himself, but was the only seamer on either side to do even that. Bowling coach David Saker spelled out, the day after that second Test, that Broad must find a way to get the best out of himself here - with fit-again Steven Finn now vying for one of what will surely be only two seamers' spots in Kolkata next week. "It's difficult," said Anderson.
"If you're not on top of your game out here, you're going to go for runs - and that's what's happened to Broady. He's been through this before. We've all been through it, where you're slightly out of form. But he's a strong character, strong enough to bounce back."
England certainly did that at the Wankhede Stadium, after their nine-wicket defeat in the first Test in Ahmedabad.
"I think the confidence was always there," added Anderson. "We just had a bit of a slip-up in the first innings at Ahmedabad, which cost us the game. It was quite easy for everyone to say we were going to lose 4-0 after that first Test, but we kept believing we could actually cause an upset in this series."
They have already done that once, and now believe they can again.
"I thought it was an incredible effort," Anderson said of the Mumbai victory.
"It's certainly up there for me as one of the best we've ever had.
"We needed a couple of guys to stand up, and we had three or four who really stood up and gave a great account of themselves. I know a couple of guys made the majority of our runs, so we hope throughout the series more people can contribute."
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