England look set to be without talismanic paceman Jimmy Anderson for next week’s fourth Ashes Test at Trent Bridge after he suffered a suspected side strain on a day of dominance from the home side.
Anderson pulled up midway sharply after bowling the third ball of the 33rd over, then aborted his run-up for the fourth and immediately left the field looking in some discomfort on his 33rd birthday.
An ECB official would only say that England’s leading wicket-taker had a stiff side and would be assessed in the morning.
The loss of Anderson, who took 6-47 in a brilliant spell that ripped through the Australian batting line-up on day one, grabbed the vital wicket of David Warner, who was the only member of the Australian top order to score any meaningful runs with a fine knock of 77, in the second.
Anderson is something of a track specialist at Trent Bridge, a ground he rates as his favourite in Test cricket and averages 19 with the ball.
He was the destroyer in chief at the Nottinghamshire venue when the sides last met there in the 2013 series, finishing with a 10-wicket haul as England won by 14 runs.
England great Ian Botham said he would be surprised if Anderson would be fit for the fifth Test at The Oval, never mind next week’s Test and predicted a long spell on the sidelines for the Lancastrian.
“The way he pulled up in the run-up tells me he’s not just right,” Botham said on Sky Sports.
“If it’s an intercostal, we won’t see him again in this series. You can’t sneeze, can’t cough, can’t laugh. You have to let it heal.”
Finn, who took 5-54 on a strong return to Test cricket after a two-year hiatus, said Anderson would have had to have been in real pain to pull up hurt mid-over.
“For Jimmy to walk off halfway through an over it can’t be too good,” Finn said.
“Who knows, with some magical medical healing and some rehab, I just don’t know.”
Should Anderson be ruled out, Mark Wood, who missed this Test with an ankle injury is likely to return.
Chris Woakes would also be in contention as would rookie quick Mark Footit, who was deliberately left out of Derbyshire’s match with the Australians last week.