Stuart Broad has played down fears over James Anderson’s fitness, insisting his England teammate is ‘fully fit and healthy’.
Anderson appeared in discomfort during Australia’s first innings in Brisbane and did not bowl immediately after lunch when the hosts were on the ropes, sparking fears of an injury scare.
Speaking to BT Sport at the close of play, with England 33-2, Broad said: ‘He’s fully fit and healthy.
‘He bowled 30 overs and bowled exceptionally. It was a bit of a plan of ours to bowl short, sharp spells as we have the extra bowler.
‘On these pitches, if you get into seven or eight over spells you can start leaking runs.’
Asked whether he was convinced by Broad’s statement, former England captain Michael Vaughan said: ‘No. Absolutely not.
‘You look at the game situation and there was no Broad or Jimmy after lunch. That created momentum for Australia.
Ashes schedule – the key dates
First Test: November 23-27 (Brisbane)
Second Test: December 2-6 (Adelaide)
Third Test: December 14-18 (Perth)
Fourth Test: December 25-29 (Melbourne)
Fifth Test: January 3-7 (Sydney)
‘When you’ve got them seven down, you’ve got to nail that moment. It was a big mistake from England’s behalf.’
England’s second innings started poorly after Alastair Cook and James Vince were both dismissed by Josh Hazlewood. At stumps, England had reached 33-2 with a lead of just seven.
Earlier in the day, Steve Smith scored his 21st Test century to drag his side back into the match after England had reduced the hosts to 209-7.
‘We had to dig quite deep there, we were in a bit of trouble,’ Smith told BT Sport. ‘It meant everything to dig deep, get through some difficult periods and then spend some time at the crease.
‘It was very pleasing because I try to lead from the front as much as I can. This is your team and you need to get your team in a good position.’