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Anderson boost for England in crucial Ashes Test

cricket Updated: Dec 25, 2010 13:46 IST
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England's main strike bowler James Anderson and Steve Finn are fit to play in the crucial fourth Ashes Test against Australia, captain Andrew Strauss said on Saturday.

Anderson had been troubled by a side strain but bowled at close to full pace in the MCG nets yesterday and today and was given the all-clear by Strauss to play in the Melbourne Test.

"He had a bit of a niggle but he seems to have got over that," Strauss told a news conference today.

"He's 100 percent fit and available for selection."

Finn showed signs of fatigue as Australia claimed a series-levelling win in last week's third Perth Test.

But Strauss has backed the 21-year-old quick to handle the demands of tomorrow's five-day MCG Test.

"'Finny' has done some really good things on this tour, taken quite a few wickets," Strauss said.

"He was probably a bit expensive in Perth (2-86 off 15 overs and 3-97 off 21).

"But he's young and he's learning and I think he's going to keep getting better.

"We're going to have to think about what that best balance is before tomorrow and we'll name the side at the toss."

Strauss said he was confident his team could recover from last week's 267-run mauling in Perth.

"We had a few days off which was much needed -- it's been quite a long tour -- and we came here and there's been a lot of buzz and energy about the team over the past couple of days," he said.

"There's talk of nearly 100,000 people being there. It's one of the highlights of your career, being able to play at the MCG in a Boxing Day Test.

"It's a big Test match. Our heads have got to be firmly on the cricket.

"We'll have a couple of hours off on Christmas Day with our families and have a nice lunch but we don't want to have any regrets, think 'Oh, we should have prepared better for this Test match'."

Strauss said his batsmen needed to take a patient approach on an MCG drop-in wicket which was expected to play low and slow.

"Sometimes it can be pretty tough to score here," he said.