James Anderson returned to action for Lancashire yesterday following close to three months out with a right knee problem, and the fast bowler was pleased with his return.
“Everything feels fine,” said Anderson, who took the new ball. “There is a little bit of general stiffness from being in the field all day, but you are always going to get that.
“I felt very rusty in my first spell. I didn’t bowl well at all, and I didn’t feel like I had any rhythm. The second spell gradually got better, then I felt really good in the third spell after tea.
“I had a lot of rhythm, I swung it, and felt like I was getting somewhere close to where I want to be.”
The right-knee problem had forced Anderson to miss international tours to the United Arab Emirates and Bangladesh, and his expected comeback at Durham University last weekend was cancelled due to rain.
The Burnley-born star returned figures of 0-48 from 16 overs, bowled in three spells of five, five and six overs at the start of each session. His third was the most impressive, going for only eight runs.
The closest he came to a wicket was in his third over when Ashwell Prince spilled Di Venuto at deep square-leg when the batsman was on 10.
Australian left-handed opener Michael Di Venuto retired with a century under his belt to help Durham take the honours after the first day of the two-day friendly. The Tasmanian called time on his innings of 103 off 150 balls at tea, and the visitors went onto close their batting effort on 351-4 from 90 overs. Dale Benkenstein and Ben Stokes also retired on 57 and 70 respectively
Sajid Mahmood picked up the only wicket to fall in the morning session when he had Kyle Coetzer caught behind by Luke Sutton with a ball that bounced a little more and squared the Scot up.
That left Durham at 30-1 in the eighth over, but Di Venuto, who also scored a century in his side’s recent four-day match against the MCC under lights in Abu Dhabi, and captain Will Smith batted into the afternoon session.
The pair shared a second wicket stand of 105 in 33 overs before Powell, the Red Rose county’s West Indian debutant, had the latter caught low down at point by a tumbling Prince for 40. Powell finished with figures of 1-59 from 14 overs.
Left-arm spinner Gary Keedy later had Gordon Muchall stumped by Luke Sutton to leave the county champions at 148-3 in the 46th over.
The visitors advanced to 180-3 after 58 overs at tea, when Di Venuto retired, before Benkenstein and left-hander Stokes took the attack to Lancashire’s bowlers. The former Durham skipper clobbered two straight sixes off one Keedy over on his way to a 105-ball half-century before Stokes lifted Mahmood for two maximums over square-leg in an over.
After the trio of retirements, Phil Mustard (34) punted a full toss from the off-spin of Steven Croft down the throat of Mahmood at long-on to leave the score at 343-7 in the 88th over.
Anderson added: “We weren’t great, but it is generally down to the bowlers to set the tone of the day. They’re the ones who need to get everyone going. When you’ve got myself and Daren, who’s not bowled a great deal over here, you can struggle to create that.
“We pulled it back in the middle session, that was pretty good, but we lost it again in the last hour or so.”
Keedy had to be taken to hospital for a scan on an injured right shoulder after he fell awkwardly whilst fielding a ball on the boundary, and the news is that the left-arm spinner has a broken collarbone.
Photo: Simon Pendrigh
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd