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England paceman James Anderson keen to prove fitness ahead of India Test

James Anderson is hoping to be fit to face India (Mike Egerton/PA)
James Anderson is hoping to be fit to face India (Mike Egerton/PA)

James Anderson is eager to prove his fitness in time to take on India on Friday, as England’s Test side look to keep their feelgood factor going.

Anderson sat out the final match of the New Zealand series at Headingley due to concerns over his left ankle, but remained with the squad to take in a third thrilling victory of the summer.

After a record 171 caps, Anderson’s hunger to take the field for his country has never been in question, but even he admits the buoyant feeling around the team in recent weeks is a motivating factor.

“I hate missing games. After that game at Headingley the feeling around the group is so good you want to be around it as much as possible,” the 39-year-old said.

“I certainly feel I’ve got more of a smile on my face in the field than I normally do. It’s so much fun playing with this group in the style we have been.

“It was disappointing to miss the last game, seeing the guys out on the field having a good time and playing well. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that I can get back in this week.

“The ankle feels pretty good and I’ve got a couple of days of practice to get through. If I can do that, hopefully I’m good for Friday. We’ll see what happens.”

England v New Zealand – Third LV= Insurance Test Series Match – Day One – Emerald Headingley Stadium
Ben Foakes tested positive for Covid midway through the third Test against New Zealand (Mike Egerton/PA)

England trained at Edgbaston on Wednesday afternoon, preparing to resume a series that was halted last September when India, who hold a 2-1 lead, declined to play at Old Trafford due to concerns over a coronavirus outbreak.

There is greater relaxation about positive cases these days, with the absence of India captain Rohit Sharma this week treated as an occupational hazard. England’s Ben Foakes tested positive midway through the third Test against New Zealand but joined the squad in Birmingham for a light training session.

Sam Billings remains with the team as cover, with a further assessment of Foakes’ readiness due on the eve of the match.