Dilemma for selectors as Anderson joins England squad

Geoff Miller believes selection dilemmas are a by-product of success after James Anderson was recalled to the England squad for the third and final npower Test against Sri Lanka at the Rose Bowl.

Anderson missed last week's second Test at Lord's after suffering a side strain in the series opener in Cardiff but he has made good progress and will replace uncapped Surrey seamer Jade Dernbach. It means England are presented with a selection poser with Stuart Broad, Chris Tremlett or Steven Finn set to give way for Anderson when the side is named on Thursday morning.

However, national selector Miller sees that as a positive reflection of England's progress and told BBC Radio Five Live: "When you start being a successful international side you do have to make these difficult decisions so we'll wait and see what conditions are like down in Southampton and make the decision accordingly."

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Anderson was left frustrated yesterday when rain robbed him of the opportunity to get some time in the middle before Thursday when Lancashire's Friends Life T20 match against Worcestershire was abandoned without a ball being bowled.

He told Sky Sports: "Getting my four overs of action would have helped that bit more. I'd quite like to get the overs under my belt because a match situation's very different to bowling in the nets. Unfortunately it's not going to happen, but I feel fine and hopefully I'll be fit for Thursday's Test. It was a very minor (strain]."

Anderson is not only the most experienced of England's seam options but also the one most likely to take advantage of the new ball with full, swinging deliveries. Miller added: "He bowled extremely well at Cardiff and is a fine, top-class bowler. But it is not just about one individual. It's about a squad of bowlers and people coming into the side for injuries. That is what we are all about - strength in depth."

Miller also agreed the player offered different options. "Jimmy (can make it] pitch up and swing," he said. "The others are tall bouncing bowlers and you are always looking for options because conditions alter and change and sometimes you need that difference."

Tremlett has been the most consistently threatening England bowler in the series and looks sure to be retained. Broad perhaps has the biggest case to answer, with six wickets at 48 in four innings to date and question marks over his use of the new ball, but Miller believes a return to form is "just round the corner". So Finn is most likely to stand down.

As in the Ashes, he frustrated at Lord's with an erratic line and length but showed once again his crucial knack of taking wickets with four first-innings victims. Miller also expressed his faith in batsman Kevin Pietersen, who has had a fallow time of late before scoring a second-innings 72 at Lord's. He said: "Kevin Pietersen is a top-quality player. He knows he can score runs internationally and has again just proved that."

There is no better or more raucous atmosphere anywhere in British boxing than inside Aberdeen's Beach Ballroom when local hero Lee McAllister is fighting.

His fans adore the Aberdeen Assassin, and they duly cheered their man to the echo on Saturday night when he became the first Scottish professional boxer to simultaneously hold two Commonwealth titles at different weights. McAllister made his bit of history by adding the light-welterweight belt to the lightweight belt which was carried into the ring before he soundly defeated Isaac Quartey, the champion of Ghana, on a unanimous points decision. Scores of 120-108, 120-108, 120-110 showed the gulf in quality between the Scot and his opponent, as only one judge saw fit to award Quartey a share of two rounds while the others did not even give the Ghanaian that consolation.

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"It was easy and I was never out of second gear," said McAllister, whose likeable good humour was shown when asked about his next objective: "To go the pub for a pint," he quipped.

If the atmosphere outside the ring was crackling, the action inside was pedestrian for much of the contest, only a rare flourish from McAllister threatening to bring the match to boil.

Fault for the lack of action has to be laid chiefly at Quartey's door. He is supposedly 34 but at times he looked as if he had left his Zimmer at home. While McAllister superbly jabbed him away, Quartey barely threw a solid connecting punch the whole night. That being said, he showed wholly admirable durability, and never having been knocked down in his professional career, Quartey maintained that record but only just. He showed that his chin was as tough as the granite walls in Union Street, but McAllister almost had him on the canvas through an attritional accumulation of blows.

The Scot did not look in the least discomfited by the step back up to light-welterweight - he won the WBU title in that division three years ago before reverting to lightweight - and he was much more worried by the hard skull of Quartey rather than his impressive physique. He had every right to be. McAllister revealed afterwards that his right fist had made contact with the top of Quartey's head in the second round and the resulting harm seriously limited his attacking options, his caution understandable since this was only his second fight back after more than a year out with an arm injury.

McAllister's vision was also damaged by a collision with the Ghanaian's head in the tenth round - the Scot had been looking to knock Quartery out at that point but noticeably reined back and coasted home from then on.

McAllister explained his cautious approach concisely: "I have only had one fight in 16 months and I didn't want to take any chances. I had a bad clash of heads last time against Isvan Nagy, so I didn't want that cut re-opening. I also wanted to get the rounds in over the championship distance because I'm looking to the future. I showed my class, I showed my superiority and that's what I need if I am going in against world-class operators. I can't expect to knock them out in three, four or six rounds, I have got to be able to go the distance, and the plan was that as long as I wasn't in any trouble, I should keep going.

"I am not just a flash, brash, jump-round-the-ring type. I showed that I can box for 12 rounds. It was all about learning, and I have always said that the day you stop learning is the day you get packing because you'll get hurt." So in that respect it was a useful exercise for McAllister, and manager Tommy Gilmour, while admitting that he had not finished off Quartey, felt the Aberdeen Assassin had given one of his best performances.

"I don't think the scorecards saying that he won every round really showed how tough a fight that was," said Gilmour. "He had to show great respect to Quartey, because he hurt him and then Quartey went back to guarding himself but was also dangerous throughout."

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A European light-welterweight title fight could be next up for McAllister, though much will depend on the outcome of the forthcoming championship contest for the vacant title between Giuseppe Lauri of Italy and Denis Shafikov of Russia, scheduled for next Saturday night in Lauri's home province of Lombardy. Should McAllister get that European chance, the roof might just blow off the old Ballroom.

On the undercard, Glasgow superbantamweight Ryan McNicol had a narrow victory over Delroy Spencer of Birmingham, while Inverness heavyweight Gary Cornish put a pleasing performance in his second professional fight, being well ahead on points when the cornerman of Hastings Rasani called off the contest after the fourth round, the Zimbabwean suffering severe cuts over both eyes. Manager Gilmour says Cornish has so much potential, adding: "That was only the 11th time he's been in a boxing ring in his life and to put up a performance like that that proves he has confidence in himself."