Cricket - Seamer slot open - Anderson

James Anderson expects some stiff competition in the nets over the next two days, before England make their final decision on which seamer will support him and Stuart Broad in the first Ashes Test.

PA Sport
Cricket - Seamer slot open - Anderson
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James Anderson still thinks England's third-seamer role may be up for grabs

Contrary to bowling coach David Saker - who suggested on Sunday that the choice between tall men Chris Tremlett, Steven Finn and Boyd Rankin is a done deal - pace spearhead Anderson thinks there could yet be some jockeying for position at the Gabba.

England had just optional nets on Monday morning - when injured wicketkeeper Matt Prior had his first extended batting session as he tries to demonstrate his recovery from a torn calf in time.

Also in attendance were captain Alastair Cook, Prior's understudy Jonny Bairstow and off-spinner Graeme Swann.

The serious business will begin for the fast bowlers on Tuesday, it seems, 48 hours before the Test begins.

"I think all of them, the bowling group as a whole, have got better as the tour has gone on," said Anderson.

"I think there was some rustiness (in the first warm-up match) at Perth. Certainly, I felt that as well.

"But as the preparation has gone on, we've all started to find some rhythm.

"I think it could be quite a tricky decision for the selectors."

He believes there is still time to impress at practice, especially if the pace hopefuls get their chance to bowl at senior batsmen such as Cook.

"In my experience, the nets can be quite important.

"I'm sure the bowlers are well aware of that, and I wouldn't really like to be a batsman facing them this week."

Tremlett is emerging as the likeliest lad, having sat out the victory over an Australian Invitational XI in which neither Finn nor Rankin did quite enough to depose him - the former taking eight wickets in the match but leaking runs worryingly.

"Our strategy as a bowling group is to create pressure, and take wickets (that way)," Anderson added.

"That's crucial not just for the third seamer but all three and the spinner to do. That's our goal.

"We want to create pressure and have to take 20 wickets. Whoever plays will be selected to do that."

Saker has also been keeping an eye on resurgent Australia fast bowler Mitchell Johnson - and still seems to think the left-armer might crack under the pressure of his comeback, despite his recent outstanding form.

"He bowled very well (in the one-day series) in India, but we know he is only one or two spells away from being quite erratic.

"We know that if we bat well against a guy like that, we might get some good scoring opportunities."

Saker has been listening too to Johnson's statements of intent - to rip through the England order, without too much concern whether he injures one or two batsmen along the way.

"If he says he's going to try to take batsmen's heads off, that means he's going to bowl short.

"If he bowls short, he's not attacking the stumps - so that's a plus for us."

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