Cricket Expert & Columnist
Ashes 2013: New ball is vital to England's fourth Test chances, says Michael Holding
The new ball is vital for England and Tim Bresnan, not Jimmy Anderson, should bowl it, says Michael Holding.
Last Updated: 10/08/13 8:19pm
The tourists ended England's first innings on 238 in the morning before Chris Rogers (101 not out) patiently led Australia to 16 adrift with five down at the close of play.
The hosts appeared on a roll early on as Stuart Broad accounted for David Warner, Usman Khawaja and Michael Clarke cheaply with the new ball before Shane Watson and Rogers steadied the ship and then scored at a decent pace as the ball aged.
Now, with the new ball available to England early on Sunday, former West Indies quick Holding says Alastair Cook's side can put themselves in a good position by striking early on day three.
"England have got to think positively about the new ball because they have got to take some early wickets," he told Sky Sports.
"England certainly can't afford for Australia to get too big a lead. This seems as though it could be a very low scoring Test match, so any lead Australia get could be quite influential."
To ensure they make the most from the fresh cherry, Holding even raised the controversial prospect of Jimmy Anderson not being called to deliver the new ball.
England's talisman and strike bowler of recent years is yet to take a wicket in this match and Holding suggested a high-on-confidence Stuart Broad (4-48) or Tim Bresnan (1-60) may use it more effectively.
"Jimmy Anderson hasn't bowled that well in the last Test and this," said the Sky Cricket expert.
"I'd suggest when England take the new ball tomorrow morning he may not be bowling that new ball. Give the ball to two men who have taken wickets, who should be confident."
That was an idea rejected by Nasser Hussain who insisted England's best policy would be to stand by the tried and trusted Anderson - especially with the possibility of swing early on.
"I'd go with Broad and Anderson," he said. "Anderson is a remarkable bowler and has the ability to turn up and roll the tail out tomorrow.
"I agree in the last game and a half he has just been missing something - but it might swing tomorrow and he could run through them."
If that were to be the case, Hussain believes England would have given themselves a huge opportunity to win the match, with the surface likely to break up as the match wears on.
"The pitch does deteriorate at Chester-le-Street and batting last on it, as Australia will be if England get through them tomorrow, you don't want to be chasing more than 200.
"That's why this is an intriguing game. Tomorrow morning, a 40-50 run lead for Australia is going to be absolutely vital."