England are most likely to be without James Anderson for the remainder of the first Test after he experienced a recurrence of tightness in his right calf.
Anderson, the major wicket-taker at England’s Test history, first tore his right calf muscle when playing for Lancashire against Durham at Sedburgh on July 2. While the England management were convinced he had completely recovered from the injury, he experienced additional discomfort during his fourth over of the game at Edgbaston and abandoned the area for treatment.
While he returned to the pitch a short while afterwards, he did not bowl again and the England management have said he will undergo a scan on Thursday afternoon. If that scan reveals any fresh rip, there’s a strong possibility that Anderson is going to be ruled from the next two or three Tests. Even if it does not, it is hard to envision England will risk worsening the harm by requesting Anderson to bowl.
The news is likely to raise questions about the wisdom of enjoying Anderson, who celebrated his 37th birthday earlier this week, and the medical information the management received. He has, however, bowled without distress in training – especially on Monday, when he was among three players who seemed at an optional net session – although England’s preparations were struck by bad weather and he also may not have bowled the amount of overs before the game which may have been envisaged. England were made to train inside on Tuesday, where nearly all of the seamers didn’t bowl due to concerns about the chance of impact difficulties, while the baits were damp on Wednesday, which meant most bowlers having gentle sessions around the outfield.
England were tempted to name Jofra Archer within their team for this first Test. The direction concluded, however, that it would be a risk to go into a game using two bowlers coming back from injury.
If – as is likely – Anderson is not able to bowl for the remainder of the match, it is going to reduce England to some four-man assault of Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes, Ben Stokes and also the offspin of Moeen Ali. And while England would, in ordinary conditions, be thought to have enjoyed the best of the very first session of the series – Australia were three down at dinner – concern over the extent of Anderson’s injury will require much of the gloss off that bright start.