LONDON: England pace bowler James Anderson hopes to prove his fitness in time for Friday’s Test against India after missing the conclusion of the clean sweep of New Zealand.

Anderson was sidelined for the third Test victory at Headingley due to concerns over his left ankle.

The 39-year-old, England’s all-time record Test wicket taker, stayed with Ben Stokes’ squad to watch their third successive win against New Zealand and could feature in the rearranged Test against India at Edgbaston.

Anderson has enjoyed England’s renaissance under Stokes and new coach Brendon McCullum, with their winning run giving him extra incentive to return to the field.

“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,” Anderson said on Wednesday.

“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 trained at Edgbaston on Wednesday, 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.

Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2022

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