The Ashes: Hopes high that Anderson will return in time for Oval Test

England's James Anderson leaves the field with a side injury during day two. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA
England's James Anderson leaves the field with a side injury during day two. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA
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James Anderson is optimistic he will be over his side injury in time for the Ashes finale at The Oval.

England’s leading wicket-taker was forced off the field on Thursday evening in the third Test at Edgbaston and will miss out on a date at his favourite hunting ground, Trent Bridge, in the fourth. But with a diagnosis of only a side strain – Anderson confirmed the injury is “not an intercostal (muscle)” and added that it “didn’t look too serious” when assessed yesterday morning – he hopes to be good to go for the fifth Test beginning on August 20.

“I’m not going to play the next game unfortunately, but hopefully I’ll be back for The Oval,” he said .

“The medical team were pretty happy with me. They checked me over, looked at my movements and they were happy that it didn’t look too serious so that’s what I’m aiming for.

“It’s not an intercostal, that’s not the word I heard. It’s a bit sore, I felt something on one of the deliveries. Stuart Broad, who’s had a bit of experience with those injuries, said ‘don’t bowl another ball’. I ran in for the next one but it was a bit sore and I thought ‘yeah, maybe he’s right’.

“I’ve never had that sort of injury before. I felt a bit stiff, I just put it down to that and then the next ball I just felt something.”

The England and Wales Cricket Board announced the prognosis for Anderson yesterday morning.

A statement read: “James has been ruled out of the remainder of the current Investec Ashes Test with a side strain.

“Anderson will be unavailable for the fourth Test, beginning on Thursday August 6 at Trent Bridge, and his availability for the final Test in the series will be determined in due course.”

Anderson played down the likely effect of pre-match work on his action with bowling coach Ottis Gibson, saying: “It could be a number of things.

“It was on my 33rd birthday, after 12 years of professional cricket – that might have something to do with it.

“Injuries happen to fast bowlers. I’ve been very fortunate in the last few years that I’ve not had many so you’ve just got to take it on the chin. Hopefully, I can come back stronger.”

Likely replacements for Anderson in the squad to be named for Trent Bridge later today include uncapped left-armer Mark Footitt, Yorkshire’s Liam Plunkett and fit-again Warwickshire seamer Chris Woakes.

England’s most obvious option to complete their seam attack for the fourth Test, however, is to recall Mark Wood, who took part in the first two Tests but was rested at Edgbaston in favour of Steven Finn.

England captain Alastair Cook appeared to strengthen Wood’s case when asked about Anderson’s likely deputy at the end of the match.

“Jimmy and Woody are quite like for like,” he said.

“Mark did not play this game because of a bit of a niggle. Hopefully his recovery and rehab is going well and it seems he will be up for selection. It is disappointing, Jimmy’s record at Trent Bridge is brilliant, but now it is an opportunity for someone lucky enough to replace Jimmy to do something very special.”