James Anderson on level of Cristiano Ronaldo and Novak Djokovic, says Monty Panesar

England had their best day of the Ashes series before the final hour; James Anderson took 4-33 from 23 overs, including 10 maidens; Monty Panesar hailed the 39-year-old as one of sport’s leading lights

Last Updated: 27/12/21 10:10am

Monty Panesar insists James Anderson (centre) is on the level of Cristiano Ronaldo and Novak Djokovic

James Anderson is up there with Cristiano Ronaldo and Novak Djokovic as one of the world’s best sportsmen after a scintillating performance on the second day of the third Ashes Test, says former England spinner Monty Panesar

Fast bowler Anderson, now 39, took 4-33 from his 23 overs, including 10 maidens, as England bowled Australia out for 267 in Melbourne, including the crucial wickets of opener David Warner and talisman Steve Smith.

Panesar told Sky Sports News Anderson is one-of-a-kind and the country are unlikely to find someone like him ever again.

He said: “James Anderson was just magnificent. His performances are really up there with great sportsmen right now like Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United, (Novak) Djokovic with the tennis.

“Jimmy Anderson is right up there with these kind of stars. That was a brilliant bowling performance. We probably won’t see again another England bowler like that.

“I thought England had probably their best bowling performance of the series so far.

Panesar says Anderson was 'brilliant' against Australia in during the third Test

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Panesar says Anderson was ‘brilliant’ against Australia in during the third Test

Panesar says Anderson was ‘brilliant’ against Australia in during the third Test

“As a bowling unit, they bowled magnificently well. Mark Wood, who has been dangerous throughout the whole series, was bowling with extreme pace, clocking up 150kph, and getting the No 1 batsman [Marnus Labuschagne] out. It was brilliant to watch.”

Panesar expressed sympathy for the England batters that fell, insisting all the wickets in the final hour were ‘unplayable deliveries’, before criticising several selection calls and admitting the hosts could wrap up a series victory on day four.

Panesar added: “Throughout the series, they’ve had poor decision making.

“At Brisbane, Joe Root won the toss, England should have bowled and Stuart Broad should have played. If they were preparing Jack Leach as a frontline spinner, they should have played him at the start of the English summer.

“With the Hundred and the focus on white-ball cricket, England haven’t prepared as well as they have done on previous tours.

“Let’s be honest, this Australia team isn’t that strong compared to England. England have just made some poor selection errors and decisions throughout the series.

“We were hoping as English fans they could survive that hour but those last two wickets have given Australia the ascendancy and they’ll probably look to wrap up the series [on day three] at some point.”

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