On comeback trail, James Anderson bowls 20 overs on day 1 for Lancashire 2nd XI
James Anderson is likely to make his comeback for the fourth Test. @AFP

James Anderson started his road to recovery from a hamstring injury, that ruled him out of the 2nd and the 3rd Ashes Test, taking the field for Lancashire’s 2nd XI against Durham 2nd XI at Chester Boughton Hall CC in a four-day friendly, which started yesterday. The right-arm pacer bowled 20 overs on day one, getting out AJ Robson in 42nd over to break the first wicket partnership that had garnered 83 runs. Anderson bowled a total of 20 overs for one wicket on the opening day.

At stumps, Durham 2nd XI were four down at 288 after 96 overs. Cameron Steel and Jack Burnham scored half-centuries to put their side in a strong position.

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Anderson, England’s highest taker, had broken down during the opening Test due to a calf injury and is hopeful of returning for the fourth Test, starting September 4. He could just bowl four overs before leaving the field. His absence meant part-timers Joe Root and Joe Denly combined to bowled 26 overs in the second innings while Moeen Ali also sent down 29 overs, giving away 130 runs for two wickets.

James Anderson
James Anderson missed second and third Test due to calf issue. @AFP

Having missed the second and third Tests, Anderson is proving his match fitness in the ongoing 2nd XI match and is likely to make his comeback for the fourth Test.

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If recalled, he might replace Jack Leach in the playing XI. The left-arm spinner, who survived for 17 balls in England’s famous win in the third Test, wasn’t used in the first innings and got one wicket in the second.

Apart from Anderson, the fourth Test might also see the comeback of Steve Smith. The former Australian captain had been ruled out of the third Test due to concussion that he had suffered after being hit by a bouncer from Jofra Archer. In a bid to prove his fitness, he will be playing a three-day practice match against Derbyshire that starts tomorrow.