James Anderson bowls 20 overs for Lancashire Second XI in bid to prove Ashes fitness

James Anderson in action for Lancashire's second XI
James Anderson in action for Lancashire's second XI

James Anderson bowled 20 overs for Lancashire Second XI on the first day of their friendly at Chester Boughton Hall as he attempted to prove his fitness for the fourth Ashes Test.

The 37-year-old is recovering from a calf injury which cut short his involvement in the Ashes opener at Edgbaston and ruled him out of the next two Tests at Lord's and Headingley.

Anderson, who returned in a friendly against a Leicestershire side last week, started the match in Chester with a wicketless six-over burst against a Durham Second XI.

England's all-time leading wicket-taker suffered a calf injury while in County Championship action for Lancashire against Durham at Sedbergh School in June.

His fitness was in doubt for the first Test and he managed just four overs on the first morning at Edgbaston, before leaving the field and being sidelined for the rest of the match.

England were said to be keen for Anderson to prove his fitness ahead of any potential return, with this specially-arranged friendly at Chester probably his last opportunity ahead of the fourth Test at Old Trafford which begins on September 4.

Anderson appeared to come through the first morning of the four-day match unscathed against a strong Durham side, which featured Championship regulars including captain Ned Eckersley, Cameron Steel, Jack Burnham and Chris Rushworth.

There was even more encouragement from his second spell, which began with two overs before lunch and continued for a further seven overs after the interval.

He also claimed the first wicket of the match during those overs, bowling Durham opener Angus Robson for 51.

Anderson had figures of one for 16 from his first 15 overs, which appeared would be the extent of his work for the day but he returned to the attack to take the second new ball.

In all Anderson claimed one for 38 from his 20 overs, as Durham closed on 288 for four, and appeared to show no sign of injury.

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