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England seamer Anderson may play second Test vs India

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Mumbai, Nov 5 (IANS) Ahead of the gruelling five-match Test rubber against India, the England cricket team received a much-needed shot in the arm after pace spearhead James Anderson passed a final fitness test on his shoulder injury and is set to join the squad ahead of the first Test from November 9 at Rajkot.

England skipper Alastair Cook, who conceded that his side are the "underdogs" coming into the series, said Anderson's return will boost the side, who lost to Bangladesh in their last outing.

"It's really good news," Cook told reporters after Anderson was cleared to join the squad.

"He's probably about a week ahead of where we thought he would be. He's worked incredibly hard to get back. He's got the all clear. Now he needs to come out here and acclimatise and get some overs in the nets."

"He's put the effort in and rather than take the easy option and come back in July he wants to make a difference this series."

Anderson, who is yet to join the squad may miss out of the playing XI for the opening game but Cook hoped that his leading pacer will be fit enough for the second Test at Visakhapatnam.

"We have to see him but chatting to him yesterday the second Test is a good possibility," said Cook.

Cook, who led England to a 3-1 win during their previous tour to the sub-continent, however, admitted that his side will start the series as "underdogs", considering No.1-ranked India's brilliant run in the longest format of late.

"These are different conditions, but being underdogs takes a lot of pressure off us. Any time you play the No.1 or the No.2 ranked team in their backyard, who are very comfortable in their conditions, it's a huge task for us," Cook said.

But the southpaw, who has scored four centuries on Indian soil backed his side to do well, despite many members of the squad playing their maiden series in India.

"We have played really good cricket in big series. Last year, we went to South Africa and won away from home when they were No.1," he said.

--IANS

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