Sightings of James Anderson playing Championship cricket for Lancashire may be rare but no one can accuse the England bowler of not giving value for money when he does pull on a county sweater.
The 27-year-old paceman took 11 wickets in his only appearance last season as Lancashire beat Sussex at Hove and is on course for a similar return at Chelmsford, where he finished with 6 for 44 as Essex were bowled out for 176 after being put in.
Anderson's England team-mate Alastair Cook was among his victims and, apart from his impressive consistency of line and length, the good news for the national team ahead of the World Twenty20 is that he was able to follow his 35 overs against Warwickshire last week with another 21 yesterday, with no sign of the mystery knee injury that ruled him out of the second winter tour, to Bangladesh.
James Foster took his runs tally for the new season past 300 in a fifth-wicket stand of 62 with captain Mark Pettini. The only other significant resistance came from Ryan ten Doeschate, who defied two blows on the helmet from Saj Mahmood in an unbeaten 55.
Anderson's Caribbean-bound teammate, Stuart Broad, looked somewhat further from his best as he made his seasonal debut for Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, taking three wickets but also conceding 13 fours in his 19 overs, which cost 79 runs.
Broad struggled to hit a testing length. He picked up a fortunate early wicket when Marcus Trescothick, off balance, turned an intended pull into a loopy swat to mid-wicket, but it was not until his final spell that he began to find some rhythm, dismissing Damien Wright with a good delivery edged to second slip.
Given that Craig Kieswetter's departure for a single, caught behind during an impressive spell from Paul Franks, left Somerset 78 for 5 after Nottinghamshire had won the toss, their total of 272 represented a sound recovery that looked even better when the home side lost both openers for only four.
Michael Carberry's 113 helped give Hampshire a good start at Chester-le-Street, but 183 for 0 became 284-8 as Durham's bowlers, who struggled at first in the continued absence of injured Steve Harmison and Graham Onions, fought back.
Centuries for Rory Hamilton-Brown and Steve Davies were the features as Surrey put Worcestershire's bowlers to the sword at Whitgift.Reuse content