Jimmy Anderson passed the first big test on his injured calf.
Jimmy Anderson passed the first big test on his injured calf.

Anderson boost gives Poms more to dream on

England's James Anderson bowled nine overs and took two wickets for his county Lancashire's second team as he began his Ashes comeback attempt.

The veteran seamer missed last week's second Test against Australia at Lord's after suffering a calf injury and bowling just four overs in the first match of the series at Edgbaston.

The 37-year-old has already been ruled out of this week's third Test at Headingley but hopes to be fit for the fourth at his home ground of Old Trafford, beginning on September 4.

Anderson began his quest to return in the more sedate atmosphere of a second XI friendly against Leicestershire at the Northern Club in Great Crosby, Liverpool.

Watched by the England's lead physiotherapist Ben Langley on the first day of a three-day match, Anderson bowled a spell in each of the first two sessions.

He bowled five overs below his regular pace before lunch and claimed the wicket of Sam Bates, caught behind. He stepped up slightly after the break and bowled a further four overs, during which he trapped Ben Mike lbw.

Anderson spent most of the rest of the innings, which ended soon after tea, fielding at first slip. He was not required to bat as Lancashire began their reply.

Anderson, England's leading Test wicket-taker with 575 victims, will not feature on the second day as he returns to Old Trafford for a recovery and fitness session. He is expected to return for the final day on Thursday.

 

Jason Roy was clobbered by a bouncer in a net session prior to the Headingley Test.
Jason Roy was clobbered by a bouncer in a net session prior to the Headingley Test.

Meanwhile, coach Trevor Bayliss says England will consider reshuffling their top seven at Headingley.

The hosts retained an unchanged 12-man squad following a compelling draw at Lord's but there are still questions over how best to use the batsmen at their disposal.

While Rory Burns is an undisputed opener - and also England's leading run-scorer in the series with 266 - there are arguably question marks over the best roles for the next six players in the line-up.

"That'll be a conversation we'll have I'm sure," Bayliss said.

"We think we've got the best seven batters available to us at the moment in England... whether we can change it round and make that (order) any better, I'm not sure, but we'll certainly have a discussion about it.

 

Rory Burns has enjoyed impressive returns in the two Ashes Tests.
Rory Burns has enjoyed impressive returns in the two Ashes Tests.

"I'm quite certain there's one or two others in the right spot too and just because they're not scoring runs doesn't mean it's not the right or wrong spot for them."

Jason Roy is one of those who may come under the microscope, with his early outings as Burns' partner failing to impress.

Although a world-class opener in the white-ball formats, he has scored just 45 runs in five knocks at the head of the innings, compared to an enterprising 72 in a solitary innings at number three.

Asked if Roy might be a more natural middle-order player against the red ball, Bayliss admitted: "Possibly. Personally, I think he probably is suited to the middle order but we've selected him in the top of the order because of his form in the one-dayers and experience in the one-day team, playing international cricket.