James Anderson returns to action for Lancashire’s second XI

Lancashire Second XI v Leicestershire Second XI

James Anderson bowled five overs for Lancashire’s second XI as he began his bid for an Ashes return on Tuesday morning.

The England seamer missed last week’s second Test against Australia at Lord’s after suffering a recurrence of his calf problem in the first match of the series at Edgbaston.

The 37-year-old has also been ruled out of the third Test at Headingley this week, but he hopes to be back in contention for the fourth match at his home ground Old Trafford, which begins on September 4.

Anderson began his comeback as he turned out in a friendly against Leicestershire at the Northern Club, Great Crosby, near Liverpool.

Anderson, England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker with 575 scalps, came on to bowl first change in the morning session and looked untroubled as he took one for 11 in his short spell.

Leicestershire batsman Sam Bates was his victim, edging behind to wicketkeeper George Lavelle.

Anderson, who is expected to be substituted at some point in the three-day game, spent most of the rest of the opening session fielding at first slip.

Losing the 37-year-old so early in the first Test put England on the back foot, and a bowling attack without their leading wicket taker saw them fall to defeat in Birmingham, with Steve Smith controlling the game with the bat, and Nathan Lyon tearing the hosts apart with the ball.

Lancashire Second XI v Leicestershire Second XI

However, the second Test was a lot closer, albeit due to rain taking five sessions away.

The third Test, which begins in Leeds on Thursday, will be very interesting to watch. England are without their star bowler in Anderson once more, whilst the Aussies will be without star batter Smith, who has been ruled out due to the concussion he suffered in his first innings at Lord's.

Smith, who is the leading run scorer in the series, was hit in the neck by a Jofra Archer bouncer, and it was announced this morning that he'll play no part in the third Test.

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