England handed massive late Ashes blow with James Anderson calf injury

England talisman James Anderson is ruled OUT of the first Ashes Test with a calf injury in a massive blow to captain Joe Root on eve of start of series

  • England suffered an injury blow on Monday, the eve of the first Ashes Test match
  • Star bowler James Anderson was earmarked to play at the Gabba but is now out 
  • The leading wicket-taker in Test history, 39, picked up a calf niggle in training 
  • Chris Woakes or Jack Leach are in line to replace him on a green Brisbane pitch 

England suffered a big injury blow on Monday, the eve of the first Ashes Test, when Jimmy Anderson was ruled out with a calf injury.

The leading wicket-taking seamer in Test history had been earmarked to play at the Gabba on Tuesday night but England’s lack of Ashes preparation caught up with them when Anderson was injured in training.

It forced Joe Root and Chris Silverwood into another re-think of their attack, with Chris Woakes coming into the equation to replace Anderson and perhaps provide traditional English seam bowling on what is expected to be an unusually green Brisbane pitch.

England have suffered a blow ahead of the Ashes, with James Anderson ruled out with injury

The leading wicket-taking seamer in Test history picked up a calf niggle before the first Test

And it left England waiting to see if the elements had altered the Gabba surface on Tuesday before they decided whether one of their remaining bowling places will go to a spinner in Jack Leach.

Root had earlier vowed to put the record straight on this strange Covid-hit tour after two miserable Ashes trips by taking the fight to Australia.

The captain was dropped during the 5-0 humiliation in 2012-14 and then ended up stricken with illness at the end of his first tour in charge as England lost 4-0 four years.

Now he wants his underdogs, weakened further by the absence of the veteran Anderson, to be brave when they take on Australia under new leadership in Pat Cummins at the Gabba at the start of five Ashes Tests squeezed into a 42-day period.

‘I’m absolutely determined to put the record straight,’ said Root ahead of the start of the biggest battle in Test cricket, which starts at midnight UK time. ‘If you look at the last two tours performances weren’t good enough and we can only expect better.

Captain Joe Root (pictured) will now have to figure out how to replace ‘the Burnley express’

Chris Woakes (above), or finger-spinner Jack Leach could be options on a green Brisbane pitch

‘This time we’re going to try to do things differently because if we approach this series in the same way we’re likely to get similar results. It’s really important we are brave and take the game to Australia and we will have to be smart.’

Root believes England’s decision to drop him for the last Test of the whitewash eight years ago has been the making of an England captain now ranked No 1 Test batsmen in the world. And he is backing his team-mates to make names for themselves.

‘This is where a lot of careers are defined,’ added Root. ‘It can make your name to come over here and have success. That opportunity is there for everyone to try and grasp and do something special.’

Root was also preparing his team for an environment at the Gabba likely to be even more hostile than usual because of the lack of travelling English fans. Around 1,500 Queensland-based expats are expected to provide what support there is for England.

The guys who have been here before will never have experienced our fans not being here,’ added Root. ‘They are usually phenomenal. But I’m sure the ‘Brisbane Barmies’ will come out in force here. We will just try to embrace the atmosphere.’ 

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