Rain delays second Test toss as England wait on Anderson's fitness

London (AFP) –


Rain delayed the scheduled 10:30 am local time (0930GMT) toss in the second Test between England and India at Lord's on Thursday as the hosts' veteran paceman James Anderson made a bid to prove his fitness for the match.

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.

Meanwhile the 39-year-old Anderson, who suffered a thigh injury on Wednesday, was seen warming-up on the outfield on Thursday before a sharp downpour delayed the toss.

Both sides only have to confirm their teams at the toss itself.

Anderson's 621 Test wickets are an England record, with Broad's 524 wickets leaving him second in the national standings.

Saqib Mahmood, uncapped at Test level but already an England limited overs international, has been called up as cover.

He joins Ollie Robinson, Mark Wood, Craig Overton and all-rounder Sam Curran in vying for a place in the home side's pace attack.

England have not played a Test without either Anderson or Broad since October 2016 and it is nine years since they both missed one on home soil.

Meanwhile, Haseeb Hameed could force his way into an England top three where opening batsman Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley have both been struggling for runs, with only captain Joe Root passing fifty for the hosts in last week's rain-marred drawn first Test at Trent Bridge with scores of 64 and 109.

England remain without two all-rounders in Ben Stokes, taking an indefinite break from cricket due to mental health issues, and the injured Chris Woakes, while express fast bowler Jofra Archer has been ruled out for the rest of this year with an elbow problem.

India will be without pace-bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur because of a thigh injury.

Experienced paceman Ishant Sharma could replace Thakur, with India also able to select star off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.

England may opt to recall off-spinning all-rounder Moeen Ali after opting against playing a specialist slow bowler in Nottingham.

Earlier on Thursday, England announced batsman Ollie Pope, working his way back from a thigh injury, had been released from their squad.

He will now play for Surrey in their One-Day Cup fixture against Derbyshire.