English pace bowler Jimmy Anderson has been ruled out of the second Ashes Test at Lord’s as the veteran’s calf injury continues to prove a major boost to Australia’s pursuit of a breakthrough series win in England.
Anderson returned from a month-long stint on the sidelines at Edgbaston after convincing himself, medicos, selectors, coach Trevor Bayliss and captain Joe Root that he had recovered from a calf injury.
But the 37-year-old tweaked the same muscle after delivering only four overs with the new ball on day one of the first Test.
Anderson failed to bowl again in the match and it is unclear when he will be fit to return in the five-Test series.
The hosts will be particularly reluctant to rush back the right-armer, given how his comeback left Root a bowler down in Birmingham.
At this stage, England is only ruling a line through its all-time leading wicket-taker for the clash in London that starts next Wednesday.
England released a statement the morning after its 251-run loss, noting Anderson will be reassessed on an ongoing basis regarding his availability for the rest of the Ashes series.
Jofra Archer is expected to make his Test debut at Lord’s because of the injury-enforced omission of Anderson, although the World Cup hero will have to prove his fitness playing for Sussex’s second XI this week as he recovers from a side strain.
Australian captan Tim Paine didn’t attempt to downplay the significance of Anderson’s absence during his post-match press conference.
“Anderson’s one of the best, if not the best, bowler in the world. Particularly over here in England,” Paine said.
“So it made it difficult for their team, it put a lot of workload into their all-rounder Ben Stokes.
“Guys had to bowl more overs than they’ve probably been used to having to bowl with Jimmy in the side.
“You’d be lying if you said psychologically it didn’t make a difference to our team, and physically to theirs as well. It’s a big win for us … they lost their premier bowler.”
England’s pace depth will be tested in this series, during which it will be unable to call on injured 2015 Ashes winner Mark Wood.
Root denied that picking Anderson in the first Test was a mistake.
“Not at all. He passed every medical testing. He was fit to play. It’s one of those freak scenarios,” Root said.
“It was a unanimous decision for him to play.”