Anderson included as England bowl in second India Test
London (AFP) –
James Anderson was thrust straight into the action after being passed fit to play in the second Test against India at Lord's on Thursday when England captain Joe Root won the toss and elected to field under overcast skies.
Meanwhile, England recalled batsman Haseeb Hameed for his first Test in five years.
Yet just as Anderson was preparing to bowl the first ball, rain -- which had delayed the toss -- saw the umpires briefly take the players off the field before the match got underway.
Stuart Broad, Anderson's longtime new-ball partner, had already been ruled out of the remainder of the five-match series after pulling up with a calf problem in training.
The 39-year-old Anderson, who suffered a thigh injury on Wednesday, warmed up on the outfield on Thursday before rain briefly delayed the toss.
England will hope to avoid a repeat of the 2019 Ashes opener at Edgbaston where Anderson, nursing a niggling injury, broke down on the first morning to leave the attack a bowler light -- no substitute in a Test is allowed to bowl in those circumstances.
"There are some nice overhead conditions and we feel, particularly at this ground, they can play a massive factor in things so hopefully we can get ahead of the game early and put some pressure on that way," Root told BBC Radio's Test Match Special at the toss.
"James Anderson is fit to play, and there are no issues there. I'm looking forward to him doing his stuff."
Anderson's 621 Test wickets are an England record, with Broad's 524 wickets leaving him second in the national standings.
- 'Excited for Hameed' -
England made three changes to the side that drew the rain-marred first Test at Trent Bridge last week.
Fast bowler Mark Wood replaced Broad, with Hameed recalled in place of the struggling Zak Crawley, averaging just 11 in Tests this year.
Injury and a severe loss of form that saw him move from Lancashire to Nottinghamshire had kept Hameed in the international wilderness since he won three caps in India in 2016.
"I'm very excited for Haseeb Hameed," said Root. "He has impressed since he has come back into the fold, and he is a fine young man. I've been really impressed with him as a person, and as a player."
Having opted against playing a specialist slow bowler in Nottingham, England recalled off-spinning all-rounder Moeen Ali after dropping batsman Dan Lawrence.
Root was the only England batsman to make a fifty at Trent Bridge thanks to scores of 64 and 109.
India replaced injured pace-bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur because of with experienced quick Ishant Sharma in the only change to their XI.
By deciding against recalling off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, India stuck with what captain Virat Kohli had called the "template" of four seamers and spinner Ravindra Jadeja that served them well in Nottingham.
Kohli, who revealed he too would have bowled first had he won the toss, explained Ashwin's ongoing omission by saying: "Having seen the pitch and the balance of our bowling unit, this makes the most sense for us as a team."
England: Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Haseeb Hameed, Joe Root (capt), Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (wkt), Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Ollie Robinson, Mark Wood, James Anderson
India: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujuara, Virat Kohli (capt), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wkt), Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj
Umpires: Michael Gough (ENG), Richard Illingworth (ENG)
TV umpire: Richard Kettleborough (ENG)
Match referee: Chris Broad (ENG)
© 2021 AFP