No Anderson, unchanged England in 5th Test

England fast bowler James Anderson will miss the fifth and final Ashes Test against Australia, failing to recover fully from a side strain, captain Alastair Cook said on Wednesday.

Anderson, who suffered the injury in the third Test at Edgbaston, was still around a week away from full fitness, added Cook. He had only returned to bowl on Tuesday in the nets.

“Unfortunately, he’s not going to make it,” Cook said. “He’s gutted about it. He’s made really good progress from where he was at Edgbaston but this is a week or so too soon.

“He bowled in the nets yesterday but at about 60-70 per cent and that’s not how you go into a game. He’s really gutted. The medical team have been brilliant with him but he’s still about a week away.”

England have already won the Ashes at 3-1 up, with just the Oval Test starting on Thursday.

Cook, who added England would field a team unchanged from the one that played in the fourth Test barring a late injury, said leaving Anderson out had been made easier by the fact the Ashes had already been regained.

“Jimmy’s not fit,” he said. “As much hard work as he has put in, he’s not right. It’s a hard question to answer, if it was 2-2, but the way Mark (Wood) has come in and bowled in the series, certainly in the first game and the last game, we have options. Especially with Liam Plunkett as well, we have good strength in depth.”

There had been speculation Yorkshire legspinner Adil Rashid might make his Test debut at The Oval ahead of tours later this year of the United Arab Emirates and South Africa.

But Cook said the only consideration for England in selection was picking a side to win the series 4-1, with no England team having won four Tests in a home Ashes series.

“We come into this game trying to win this series 4-1,” he said.

“That’s what we’ve discussed. Adil has been with us in every single squad but the pitches haven’t quite suited two spinners so Adil’s had to wait for his chance.

“As a cricketer, he’s really improving and he feels a lot more comfortable in the England environment. There’s a one-day series to come so he’ll probably get his chance in that.”

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