x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Anderson targets survival

The England fast bowler James Anderson admits that surviving this morning's first session is crucial to their chances of saving the first Test.

CENTURION // The England fast bowler James Anderson admits that surviving this morning's first session is crucial to their chances of saving the first Test. Anderson took four for 73 as South Africa recovered from 46 for four to declare on 301 for seven. But he ended the day fending off the new ball, finishing six not out as nightwatchman after Andrew Strauss was dismissed "The first hour will be crucial and if we can get to that we will reassess at lunch and tea," said Anderson.

"I enjoy doing the nightwatchman job," he added. "Tomorrow I get to open the batting for England, so it's quite an entertaining thing to do." England need a further 353 runs for an improbable victory but defence is the only thing on Anderson's mind. "I've found it an easy wicket to bat on," joked Anderson who made 29 in the first innings. "It will be a really difficult first hour for us. "The harder ball does some things but when it flattens out the ball gets softer and it becomes easier to bat on. If we can get through that first hour we've got a good chance of batting the whole day."

It was Hashim Amla's seventh Test century which put the Proteas in control but he said that the removal of Strauss last night was just as pleasing. "Getting Andrew Strauss has knocked their team back," he said. "We were hoping for one wicket and fortunately it was Strauss." And Amla admitted that the pitch had not declined as much as he though. "We expected more up and down bounce," he said. "When the ball got old it did not react as much. There was less variable bounce than in other days. But we are confident that the wicket will deteriorate a bit more and give us a better chance."

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