England recall Anderson for delayed India finale

England have recalled James Anderson for the delayed fifth Test against India at Edgbaston on Friday.

The paceman missed the conclusion of England’s series whitewash of New Zealand when an ankle injury ruled him out of the third Test at Headingley.

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But the 39-year-old, England’s all-time record Test wicket taker, will return to the side against India even though replacement Jamie Overton scored 97 on his debut in Leeds.

“That’s how sport at the top level works sometimes,” England captain Ben Stokes told reporters on Thursday.

“It must be very disappointing for him (Overton) but he can walk away knowing he did everything he could.”

In another change to an England team announced almost 24 hours ahead of the toss, Sam Billings will take over as wicketkeeper.

Billings was called up at short notice during the New Zealand series finale for his second Test appearance as a Covid-19 substitute for first-choice gloveman Ben Foakes, who was also hampered by a stiff back at Headingley.

“Unfortunately Foakesy hasn’t recovered as well as we’d have liked him to,” said Stokes.

“So Sam is going to stay in the team.

“(Foakes) hasn’t really recovered from last week and doesn’t feel like he could give the best account of himself this week. We took the decision out of his hands and said ‘get yourself better’.”

Friday’s match should have been played in Manchester last September but, hours before it was due to start at Old Trafford, it was postponed because of Covid-19 concerns in the India camp.

India, who lead the five-match series 2-1, are now waiting on the availability of Covid-hit captain Rohit Sharma, who has been in isolation since testing positive last week.

The tourists, however, are not obliged to announce their side until Friday’s 10:00am local (0900 GMT) toss.

India will face a rejuvenated England, who under their new leadership duo of Stokes and red-ball head coach Brendon McCullum swept the Black Caps 3-0 after winning just one of their previous 17 Tests.

England team to play India:

Zak Crawley, Alex Lees, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (capt), Sam Billings (wkt), Matthew Potts, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach, James Anderson

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