James Anderson: England seamer returns to action for Lancashire second XI

James Anderson
James Anderson took a wicket in the second over of his comeback for Lancashire's second XI

England's James Anderson bowled nine overs for Lancashire's second XI in his bid to prove his fitness for the rest of the Ashes series against Australia.

Anderson aggravated a calf injury in the first Test and managed only four overs in the defeat at Edgbaston.

In his first game since, he took 2-23 against Leicestershire's second XI at the Northern Club in Crosby.

The 37-year-old seamer has been left out of the squad for the third Test, starting at Headingley on Thursday.

However, it is hoped that he will be fit enough to be involved in the last two Tests of the series, at Old Trafford (4-8 September) and The Oval (12-16 September), should he come through his return unscathed.

"He's fine. He's happy," said Lancashire second XI coach Chris Benbow. "He had an allotted spell of overs he wanted to bowl over the course of the three days and he's probably bowled a little bit more today than he'd planned to.

"He's moving well and he feels all right."

Anderson is England's all-time leading wicket-taker in Tests, with 575 in 149 matches.

Analysis

Alan Jewell, BBC Sport at the Northern Club, Crosby

Anderson was not straight into action here, spending the first 10 overs at first slip. And when he did come into the attack, he was clearly bowling within himself.

However, he found enough movement to trouble the Leicestershire openers. He almost induced Nick Green to edge onto his stumps before having Sam Bates caught behind with his 11th delivery.

By the end of an initial five-over spell, his pace was increasing and there was no visible sign of any lingering issue with his right calf.

When the third Ashes Test gets under way at Headingley on Thursday, Anderson will be playing the final day of this second XI friendly.

He can only hope his calf reacts positively and that his England team-mates are able to ensure the Ashes are still on the line when the fourth Test takes place at his home ground of Old Trafford.

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