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Misfiring England on verge of Ashes loss

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Australian allrounder Shane Watson doesn’t believe England duo James Anderson and Graeme Swann have lost their mojo despite their rough form during the Ashes.

Paceman Anderson equalled the record for the most expensive over in Test history after being taken to task by Australia’s George Bailey in the third Ashes Test in Perth.

Bailey cracked 28 runs off Anderson’s 19th over before Australia declared at 6-369, setting England an unlikely victory target of 504.

England will resume on the final day at 5-251, with Ben Stokes not out 72 and Matt Prior on seven.

Bailey’s onslaught against Anderson included three sixes and two fours, leaving the star paceman with figures of 0-105 from 19 overs.

Swann was also taken to task, with Watson cracking 22 runs off one of his overs before the English spinner finished with figures of 1-92.

Anderson and Swann combined for 39 wickets during England’s 3-1 Ashes triumph in Australia three years ago.

But after three Tests this series, they have just 14 wickets between them.

However, Watson doesn’t think the pair have fallen out of form.

“I don’t think they’ve lost their edge,” Watson said.

“There’s no doubt Stuart Broad’s injury meant a lot to the English guys.

“Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad have always done an amazing job for the English, and also Graeme Swann.

“A lot of us have played all these guys a lot over the last couple of series and we’re starting to get to know how to not allow them into the game.”

Watson entered the Perth Test under mounting pressure to perform following a run of low scores.

But he eased the tension with a sparkling century on Monday to put Australia within reach of reclaiming the Ashes.

Watson was one of four players suspended for a Test by former coach Mickey Arthur over the ‘homework-gate’ controversy in India earlier this year.

The 32-year-old said the arrival of new coach Darren Lehmann had been a breath of fresh air.

“From the first week Darren Lehmann took over, it has been the most exciting time in my career to be involved in the Australian team,” Watson said.

“To see how everyone has continued to grow under Darren’s leadership has really been a special time. In everyone’s career, especially mine, to know the sort of ups and downs we’ve been through over the last few years.”

Australia lead the Ashes 2-0, and will reclaim the urn if they can secure victory on Tuesday.

 

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