India v England: James Anderson fit for selection in Visakhapatnam

James Anderson
James Anderson last played Test cricket for England in August against Pakistan
Second Test: India v England
Venue: Visakhapatnam Date: 17-21 November Start time: 04:00 GMT
Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra & BBC Sport website, tablets, mobiles & app; live text coverage on BBC Sport website

England's leading wicket-taker James Anderson is fit to play in the second Test against India in Visakhapatnam, which begins on Thursday.

The 34-year-old played in six of the summer's Tests but has been sidelined since injuring his shoulder in August.

His inclusion would be likely to mean that Chris Woakes, who has a minor knee injury, would miss out.

"It's a decision that will give me a few more grey hairs," captain Alastair Cook told BBC Test Match Special.

Anderson, who has taken 463 Test wickets since making his debut in 2003, missed the first Test against Pakistan in July because of the injury.

However his experience in subcontinent conditions could persuade England to change the team that drew the first Test in Rajkot.

"He is as fit on the medical side as he has been for a while and he's better than he was in the summer," said Cook.

"One thing you can't replicate without any match practice, which we haven't found him, is that match fitness."

Woakes bowled with pace and accuracy in Rajkot but finished with match figures of 1-63 from 35 overs, and Cook admitted it would be tough to leave him out.

"Someone like Chris Woakes has been outstanding but he has played a lot of cricket and there's a lot to come," he added.

Visakhapatnam pitch 'nice for spinners'

Visakhapatnam wicket
New Zealand were bowled out for 79 in October during a one-day international in Visakhapatnam

India's spinners struggled on a flat, grassy pitch in Rajkot but the surface in Visakhapatnam is expected to offer them more assistance.

"At Rajkot I was surprised to see a grassy wicket. I definitely hope that's not the case this time around," said India captain Virat Kohli.

"It's a wicket where the spinners will find it really nice to bowl on and I expect the same going into this game."

England, who have won just one of their last seven Tests in Asia, have struggled against subcontinent spin in the past.

They collapsed on a spinning track in the final Test against Bangladesh in October, losing 10 wickets for 86 runs as they fell to a 108-run defeat.

"We had two real tough conditions in Bangladesh where the pitches were as hard as I can remember," Cook said.

"When the pitch did get a bit easier in Rajkot, we showed all the hard work we'd put in. The trick is now, can we back it up here?"

India bring back Rahul

Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir made 29 and a six-ball duck in the first Test at Rajkot

India recovered from a batting collapse of 71-4 on the fifth day in Rajkot to ensure a draw but they are set to make changes at the top of the order.

Fit-again opener KL Rahul, who made a century in domestic cricket after recovering from a hamstring injury, is set to replace Gautam Gambhir.

India are unbeaten at home in their last 15 Tests, and their batsmen will be key in setting the tone of the game.

"We had it pretty clear in our heads that KL is our number one choice, along with [Murali] Vijay," added Kohli.

"In the meantime, Gautam got the chances that he got and he played really well in difficult situations. But that's how team combinations go."

Analysis

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew

Alastair Cook confirmed that James Anderson will be considered on a pitch that looks much more inclined to take spin than Rajkot.

It's a gamble, since Anderson hasn't played since August, but there is also an argument that he could feel his way back here without the demand of a heavy workload.

Visakhapatnam has a reputation for being spinner-friendly. New Zealand were bundled out here for under 100 in a one-day match last month and Virat Kohli repeated his disappointment in the Rajkot pitch, which is sure to have been heard by ground staff here and at other venues on this tour.

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The stats to know

  • Alastair Cook is just 114 runs away from being only the sixth man and first England player to score 2,000 runs against India
  • Joe Root and Virat Kohli are both set to make their 50th Test appearances in Visakhapatnam
  • Chris Woakes is four wickets away from taking 50 Test wickets for England
  • India have drawn one and lost four of their last five matches against England in all formats
9-13 Nov: First Test, Rajkot - match drawn
17-21 Nov: Second Test, Visakhapatnam
26-30 Nov: Third Test, Mohali
8-12 Dec: Fourth Test, Mumbai
16-20 Dec: Fifth Test, Chennai
Full tour schedule

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