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2013 Ashes

Anderson's Ashes Dream

Anderson's Ashes Dream

It's fitting that Jimmy Anderson will be running in from the Statham End when the Ashes return to Emirates Old Trafford this summer.

The Lancastrian with more Test wickets for England than anyone else will be bowling in the greatest Test series there is from the end named after the man whose record he beat!

And he will be doing it while playing in his first Ashes Test at his home ground. It doesn't get much better than that.

Despite having played all around the world, producing match-winning display after match-winning display for his country, Anderson has only played three Tests at the place where he learnt his trade – Old Trafford.

All three – against the West Indies in 2004, New Zealand in 2008 and Bangladesh in 2010 – have ended in comprehensive wins for England.

But he has never played in an Ashes series there, although he was in the ground eight years ago when 20,000 people were locked out on the dramatic final day of the third Test.

"2005 is still fresh in my mind,” said Anderson. “I wasn't playing but I went down to Old Trafford for some physio on that final day and I was just stunned to see crowds and crowds of people lining the streets queuing, trying to get in. It was ridiculous.

"I had never seen anything like it for a cricket match in this country.

"And the atmosphere in the ground was something to behold.

"I had never played at Old Trafford when it was full like that. I had played in a B&H Cup match against Yorkshire and the ground was pretty packed that day. But it was nothing compared to the atmosphere for that Ashes Test.

"I remember it was baking hot, and of course it went down to the very last ball.

"It certainly whetted my appetite to one day play in an Ashes Test here.”

With 100,000 tickets being snapped up within weeks of them going on sale, Anderson can expect another full house when Emirates Old Trafford hosts the third Test, which starts on August 1.

But the 30-year-old from Burnley, who has become perhaps the best swing bowler in the world, is not surprised by the interest in the return of the Ashes to the new-look Emirates Old Trafford.

"The passion for cricket - and in particular the Ashes - in Lancashire and the North West is huge, which has been shown by how many tickets have been sold and how quickly they were snapped up for this summer,” he said.

"This series is also going to be special because it will be the first Test since the redevelopment of the ground.

“The place looks amazing, and the prospect of playing the Ashes here is really exciting.

"There are certain grounds that get talked about among the England players, and Old Trafford is one of them. We have a good record here and we don't often lose. It does wonders for the confidence when you go into a Test match knowing you have a good record at that ground and that it suits your game.

"I don't remember watching too many home Ashes series when I was growing up. I wasn't born in 1981, but my dad had a video of that series and we used to watch that a lot.

"But I remember the series in Australia most. I used to set my alarm clock for about 1am so I could listen to the commentary through the night

"I always wanted to play cricket. Along with the World Cup, the Ashes are right up there as the biggest events in the sport, so it is always something special to be part of that, especially at Old Trafford.

Chris Ostick
Photo of the England team at Trent Bridge this week, with Jimmy front row, far left (c) Rui Vieira/PA Wire/Press Association Images


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