With a second series of five Tests to start in Australia in November, there is an argument that establishing a winning lead at the earliest opportunity in the home series would give the England selectors an opportunity to rest pace bowlers such as Anderson, whose fitness is likely to be key to the team's chances of enjoying similar success Down Under.
Australia have already lost one fast bowler for the rest of this series after James Pattinson picked up a stress fracture in his lower back during the 347‑run defeat in the second Test at Lord's. However, Anderson, who has bowled 87.5 overs over the two Tests and taken 13 wickets for 238 runs at an average of 18.31, indicated he would not willingly stand aside to preserve his fitness.
"No. Getting into a winning lead is a long way off and there are lots of ifs and buts, but you always want to play in an Ashes Test," the 30-year-old said.
"Obviously we're in a great position and we're happy with the cricket we're playing, but there's clearly improvements we can make: we were 30 for three in both innings at Lord's. We've not been perfect with the ball either, their 10th-wicket partnerships are a pain in the backside and we have to try and do something to combat that.
"But at the same time, when we have been in tough positions we've got ourselves out of it, so that's a big positive. I think we've bowled very well, and while they've had partnerships in both games, I think we've just stuck to our tasks. We've got good plans and we've executed them pretty well so far, we've not really let them get away from us, and it's going to be crucial to maintain that."
The collective vulnerability of the Australia batting order is illustrated in the number of players who have got starts without going on to make the sort of score which can affect the outcome of a match. The captain, Michael Clarke (who scored 0 and 23 at Trent Bridge and 28 and 51 at Lord's), has said he plans to play in the three-day match against Sussex at Hove which starts on Friday. However, two other batsman who may be considered in need of time in the middle, Shane Watson (13, 46, 30 and 20) and Chris Rogers (16, 52, 15 and 6), will not be joining their team‑mates on the south coast.
According to Cricket Australia, Rogers and Watson, together with the bowler Peter Siddle, will train on their own before rejoining their team-mates in Manchester "as part of the team's plan during a long tour to allow players and staff time to refresh and recover". In the interim the three will have "relevant training activities", described as recovery, training, skills sessions and gym.
However, given the recent claims from their sacked former head coach, Mickey Arthur, regarding the relationship between Clarke and Watson, the timing of the break seems doubly unfortunate.
Pattinson and his fellow seam bowler Ryan Harris are also spending extra days in London before decamping to Hove on Thursday. A Cricket Australia spokesman insisted that Harris did not have any injury issues. Pattinson could have done with more time to recover between England's innings at Lord's and on Tuesday the tearful bowler spoke about how he was "stuffed" on day three after just 54 overs of rest when Australia were bowled out for 128.
"When you go out doing what you do it's hard on the body and in an ideal world you'd like a bit more rest than that," Pattinson said. "It's far from ideal. You go out there and put your body on the line and you're playing for your country. It's pretty shattering."
For Anderson, one of the most pleasing aspects of England's bowling has been the moments when plans laid for individual batsmen have borne fruit. "Obviously we have plans for each player, and I guess they're going through my head [when I run in to bowl]. We watch a lot of footage beforehand, but out in the middle you obviously have to play it by ear as well and change things if you have to.
"Fields might change for certain conditions, if it's reverse-swinging for example, and that's probably the most satisfying, if you set a certain field and get a wicket that way – Rogers for example, at Trent Bridge, we discussed bowling more cutters at him and it was a cutter that got him out."
Asked whether he thought Australia should turn to the experience of his 38-year-old Lancashire team-mate Simon Katich – one of several Australian batsmen prospering in county cricket – Anderson shrugged. "I presume they're picking their strongest squad, so we have to prepare for the guys they pick. I don't feel sympathy for them. Our job is to win games of cricket, we want to win the series 5-0, and we'll be doing everything we can in each game to try and win those games. We don't really feel anything for them, to be honest."
However, he admitted his emotions will run high when he goes out to represent England on his county ground. Anderson, like many Lancashire players, played a vocal part in lobbying Manchester city councillors to contribute towards the rebuilding of the famous old ground.
"We thought it was important for the club and the area, and when you feel passionately it's no hardship to go out and say so. I think cricket is huge in the north, and there's so much history in Old Trafford. It was in need of a lick of paint, and it's got that and a little bit more than that – the ground looks fantastic. I wouldn't say it was rundown, but it had aged, and the money they got was crucial."
James Anderson was test-driving the new Jaguar XFR-S. Visit www.jaguar.com
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