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Anderson fit and raring to go as England aim to level the series

By Robert Jones

Alastair Cook is urging England to move on from a "messy affair" at Lord's, as they seek to level the Investec series.

England were well short of their best at the home of cricket, where the controversial decision to omit James Anderson was arguably symptomatic of a false start against Pakistan.

Anderson, like Ben Stokes, is back from injury at Old Trafford - and Cook is calling on the collective to show their true colours before it is too late.

Defeat here would mean England can no longer win the series, and therefore achieve their summer ambition of holding the full set of bilateral Test trophies.

"The 11 players were disappointed... we didn't do ourselves justice," said Cook. "We've got a chance to do that now."

Reflecting both on defeat and last week's selection process, the captain added: "It's happened.

"It was a slightly messy affair - no one intended it to be like that.

"Unfortunately, we didn't play the greatest game of cricket. So then people then start jumping on things which were less important, but became more so because we lost.

"If we'd played really good cricket and won the game - and the 11 guys (picked) were certainly capable of that - then that story wouldn't be blown up like it has been."

"The selectors didn't think he (Anderson) was fit enough - the medical reports were 50/50," said Cook. "So he was left out of the squad. They felt he was a week away from match fitness, and he's ready here.

Anderson subsequently proved his well-being by bowling 22 unhindered overs and taking three wickets for Lancashire against Durham at Southport.

"If he'd bowled 30 overs and really hurt his shoulder (at Lord's), and was out again, we'd all be sitting here and be disappointed with that decision," added Cook.

"In hindsight, he could have played because obviously, he went and played for Lancashire and got through that."

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