England pace spearhead James Anderson understands the challenges his side is going to face in Australia, especially against Steven Smith, who is currently in a red-hot form. The world No. 1 batsman finished Australia’s last Test assignment in India with 499 runs in 4 Tests with 3 centuries and consolidated his position as the top-ranked batsman in the longest format. Smith’s role in the series was phenomenal even though Australia went down 1-2 against India. England are set for the Ashes 2016-17 in Australia later this year, which begins on November 23 and Anderson says their opponents are looking like ‘a really promising team’.
“Australia look like a really promising team. They’re obviously building something at the minute. They look pretty strong, especially in the batting,” Anderson told ESPNCricinfo. Australia have made a successful recovery from the slump which they had landed in the later part of 2016, losing 5 Tests on the trot. Australia were blanked 0-3 in Sri Lanka and South Africa followed up with a 2-1 defeat. Smith’s team appeared to be staring at a dead bottom after the Hobart Test — their last defeat in that phase — but they have done a considerable job since then.
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Australia defeated Pakistan 3-0 and handed the top-ranked Test side India a 333-run defeat in Pune. Anderson, on his part, has acknowledged their improvement and especially that of Smith, who has been on a roll.
“Smith is really tricky to bowl to because he’s so unorthodox. You think you’ve got a chance with him all the time, but he’s a really talented batsman. He’s turned himself into a brilliant batsman and he’s a key player for them, being captain as well. When he scores runs, they generally get big scores,” Anderson said.
“You think you can get him out all sorts of ways. You think you can york him leg-stump because he walks that far across. But he manages to get bat on it. It is going to be difficult for us, and I think now we’ve seen how he bats, over the next few months we can come up with some plans for him,” Anderson said.