India continue to sweat over pacer Jasprit Bumrah's fitness as Lord's Test approaches

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Bumrah is in a race against time to be fit for the Lord's Test.

As India fell to a narrow 31-run defeat in the first Test against England, they must have wondered what could have been had they had the services of pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah.

While Ishant Sharma was excellent with the ball for the visitors, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and even Hardik Pandya were guilty of giving too many freebies as they failed to find a consistent line and length.

Bhuvneshwar is already ruled out of the first three Tests but India would have secretly hoped that Bumrah recovers from his thumb injury in time for the second Test at Lord’s.

The latter has been out of action ever since he fractured his thumb in the second T20 against Ireland in Dublin. The Mumbai-born man had started his road to recovery as he remains with the Test team.

Bumrah was recently seen doing some throw-downs in the team’s net sessions raising hopes that he could be fit in time for the Lord’s Test which gets underway on August 9.

Bumrah had stepped up his recovery by resuming light bowling in the nets.

Bumrah had stepped up his recovery by resuming light bowling in the nets.

When naming the squad for the first three Tests of the five-match series, the BCCI had announced: “Jasprit Bumrah who has been included in the squad, will be available for selection from the 2nd Test onwards based on his fitness.”

However, it looks like the 24-year-old will be unavailable for the second Test.

According to a report by Cricketnext, sources close to the team are pessimistic about Bumrah’s chances of playing at Lord’s.

If that does turn out to be the case, India could be forced to field the same pace attack as Edgbaston with the inexperienced Shardul Thakur being their only option on the bench currently.

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Mitchell Starc approaching full fitness ahead of Australia's Test series against Pakistan in the UAE

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Starc expects to be fully fit for the two-Test series against Pakistan.

Australia were given a much needed boost ahead of their upcoming tour of the UAE where they take on Pakistan. Pace spearhead Mitchell Starc is nearing full fitness once again after a long injury layoff following the tibial bone stress reaction he suffered in his right leg in the tour of South Africa in April.

The 28-year-old fast bowler is now on track to be fully fit for the two-Test series against Pakistan.

“I’m definitely available for selection, as long as it all goes well over the next few weeks,” Starc told cricket.com.au.

“There’s not many opportunities to play very much competitive cricket before that tour. I’m aiming to play some practice games for New South Wales when they’re up in Brisbane if that plan goes ahead.

“The (comeback) plan will keep changing and developing with how my progress is. At the moment I’d like to think I’m very much available for selection for that UAE tour.”

Starc has been out of action since Australia's tour of South Africa.

Starc has been out of action since Australia’s tour of South Africa.

While Starc’s recovery remains on track, Australia are still sweating over the fitness of pacers Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins. Hazlewood was slated to participate in Australia’s recent limited-overs tour of England but a sore back ruled him out on the eve of departure. Cummins meanwhile, has suffered a bone oedema in his vertebrae before the start of the 2018 IPL.

“They (Cummins and Hazlewood) haven’t started bowling with me yet. I think maybe both of them could be starting up in Brisbane this week,” Starc explained.

“Hopefully the three of us are back on deck and available for the UAE. I think I’m a little bit ahead of the other two with my rehab at the moment,” he added.

Australia coach Justin Langer will be hoping he has the services of his pace triumvirate available to him when his team take on Pakistan in the UAE this October. The Pakistan clashes will be the first Test of Langer’s Australia tenure and also the team’s first since the infamous ball-tampering episode in Cape Town earlier this year.

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England pacer James Anderson's freak golfing 'accident' leaves Stuart Broad in splits

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Stuart Broad was on hand to record Anderson's freak golf accident.

England were given a major scare ahead of the second Test against India at Lord’s with pace spearhead James Anderson suffering a freak golfing ‘accident’.

Fresh from their thrilling 31-run win over India in the first Test at Edgbaston, James Anderson and his England new-ball partner Stuart Broad took to golf over the weekend.

Unfortunately for Anderson, the pacer was at the receiving end of a big whack to the face while attempting a swing. England’s all-time leading wicket-taker saw his attempted shot cannon off a tree root before striking him hard on the face.

His team-mate Broad was on hand to record the happenings on a video which he later posted on his Twitter account.

While Broad couldn’t control his laughter in the moment, England and Anderson will breathe a major sigh of relief with no serious damage being done to the 36-year-old.

Getting a golf ball strike to your face at that velocity is never a pretty sight for anyone but it has not deterred Anderson off the game judging by his reply to the video posted on Twitter. The fast bowler was given plenty of stick by his mates on social media with England’s famous Barmy Army also joining in on the fun.

The England pacer should thankfully be able to resume the highly touted battle with India’s Virat Kohli at Lord’s when the second Test gets underway on August 9.

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