England have been rocked by confirmation talismanic paceman James Anderson will miss next week’s fourth Ashes Test at Trent Bridge, and potentially the rest of the series, with a side strain.
Anderson pulled up sharply after bowling the third ball of the 33rd over of Australia’s second innings, then aborted his run up for the fourth and immediately left the field looking in some discomfort.
The 33-year-old will also be in serious doubt for the fifth Test at The Oval with side strain injuries notoriously slow to heal for fast bowlers.
“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,” former England great Ian Botham said on Sky Sports.
Glenn McGrath believes it will be difficult for Anderson to recover in time for what potentially could be a series decider at The Oval from August 20.
“I’ve done it and it is really painful,” the Australian pace great told BBC Radio.
“As a fast bowler, it’s where you generate your power from. It’s not a good injury. But I hope we see him back in this series.”
The loss of Anderson, who took 6-47 in a brilliant first-innings spell that ripped through the Australian batting line-up on day one, is something of a track specialist at Trent Bridge where he averages 19 with the ball.
He was the chief destroyer 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.
Mark Wood, who missed this Test with an ankle injury, is likely to replace Anderson but Chris Woakes and left-arm rookie quick Mark Footit are also in contention.