England fast bowler James Anderson played his first County Championship game of the season on Tuesday, representing Lancashire against Nottinghamshire. In a magnificent spell, he took seven wickets to reignite discussions over his retirement from Test cricket. 

In his first first-class match since the fifth Test of England's tour of India earlier this year, Anderson took the new ball and struck with the first delivery of his fourth over, as Haseeb Hameed played a length ball onto his stumps. Will Young was his next victim, in his fifth over, as the Kiwi batter was caught behind.

Anderson then went on to pick up a wicket each in the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth overs that he bowled. Joe Clarke was caught at slip by Lancashire captain Keaton Jennings before Jack Haynes fended a short ball to short leg. Anderson's 55th first-class five-wicket haul was completed when Lyndon James nicked one to gully and his sixth saw Liam Patterson-White caught in the same position.


Any hopes of him becoming the first Lancashire player since 1953 to take 10 wickets in an innings were soon dashed though, as Tom Bailey got rid of Calvin Harrison and Olly Stone off consecutive deliveries in the 32nd over. Anderson did return to pick up a seventh wicket, though, as Dillon Pennington was caught by George Bell, but a run out from Nathan Lyon ruled out any hopes of a career-best eight-for.

The pacer will turn 42 years old on July 30, and is set to play his final international match when England take on West Indies in the first Test of the home summer starting on July 10. ECB managing director Rob Key confirmed that Anderson would remain with the squad for the following two Tests as a fast-bowling mentor.

His performance for Lancashire sparked discussion over the decision of Key and Brendon McCullum to tell Anderson England were looking to move on from him in Test cricket.News of his retirement first broke in May in the Guardian, which reported that England head coach McCullum had had a "face-to-face chat" with him about his future. 

"We said 'we think it’s time for us to move on, that we have to start looking towards the future'," Key told TMS of the decision.

Anderson is the only pace bowler in Test history with 700 wickets to his name, and is nine wickets away from becoming the second-highest wicket taker in Test cricket history. England have named two uncapped quicks in their squad to face West Indies: Gus Atkinson and Dillon Pennington.

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