ASHES WATCH: England wait on Jimmy Anderson after legendary bowler suffers ‘minor’ groin injury with Lancashire… as Australia hit their stride
- The ECB say Jimmy Anderson has sustained a ‘mild strain to his right groin’
- He left the field on day one of Lancashire’s match against Somerset on Thursday
- 40-year-old took no further part as the game ended in a draw on Sunday
For England! We have been here many times before. When little things start going wrong and start building up into a negative narrative ahead of an Ashes series.
There has been so much optimism about England’s chances before now but events of the last week have definitely swung momentum at least slightly back in Australia’s favour.
First Jofra Archer returned home from the IPL with that elbow problem that just will not go away. Then the ever-unfortunate Olly Stone was officially ruled out for five to six weeks with the hamstring injury suffered playing for Notts against Lancashire.
And a possible alternative with a point of extra pace difference in Brydon Carse, in the runs as well as wickets this season, did not bowl for Durham in Yorkshire’s second innings on Saturday after reporting a side injury.
At least Carse was fit enough to make an unbeaten two as Durham won a thrilling match by one wicket despite a fringe Ashes candidate in Matthew Fisher taking four wickets and Jonny Bairstow again proving his fitness with both bat and gloves.
James Anderson suffered a minor groin injury playing for Lancashire on Thursday
Meanwhile, over in India, Joe Root finally got a bat for Rajasthan Royals but was dismissed for 10 by Royal Challengers Bangalore as his side crashed to 59 all out, Harry Brook has been dropped by Sunrisers Hyderabad and Ben Stokes has recovered from his self-inflicted toe injury but is still being left out by Chennai Super Kings.
What else can possibly go wrong? Well, now we have the potential saga of Jimmy Anderson’s groin. The peerless Anderson has been exceptional again so far this season and started Lancashire’s latest match with a spell of 8-5-5-2 before quietly walking off towards the end of the first day with what emerged as a ‘minor’ groin injury.
He did not appear again for the rest of the match even though Lancashire used nine bowlers – including keeper George Bell – in a vain attempt to bowl out Somerset on Sunday. ‘We should look at Jimmy’s situation positively,’ insisted Lancashire coach Glen Chapple. ‘It’s up to England to deal with it now but it just looks like a twinge to me.’
Chapple was less positive about Somerset’s tactics in not setting Lancashire a target, with James Rew and Kasey Aldridge making unbeaten centuries as the match petered out to a draw. ‘Bazball’ clearly this was not. ‘There was a good game in prospect but for some reason Somerset weren’t interested and I’ve got no explanation for that,’ said Chapple. ‘I’ve absolutely no idea what was going on.’
Sad to say it’s Australia who have had the better week, the old enemy emphasising their own bowling depth by adding Michael Neser and Sean Abbott to their squad who will arrive next week for a pre-World Test Championship final and Ashes training camp.
Both have, of course, been warmly up nicely in county cricket, Neser taking four first innings wickets – and 16 so far this season – as Glamorgan thrashed Worcestershire by 10 wickets and Abbott making 48 and then taking three second innings wickets as champions Surrey defeated Middlesex by nine wickets.
Michael Neser took four first innings wickets as Glamorgan thrashed Worcestershire
‘If Neser is called up I wish him all the best,’ said Glamorgan coach Matt Maynard. ‘We hope he gets ‘five-fors’ and Marnus (Labuschagne) makes hundreds but that England win 5-0.’ Maybe not the best idea, perhaps, to give Neser the perfect preparation in English and Welsh conditions then. Just a thought.
At least Steve Smith again only had one innings- falling lbw to Wiaan Mulder for three – and ended up bowling an over of leg-spin and conceding seven runs as Sussex drew with Leicestershire. Smith now only has a maximum of two more county innings to get in the swing for the World Test Championship and Ashes.
Zak Crawley faces more Ashes scrutiny than most but at least there was a half-century for the under-pressure opener in Kent’s draw with Hampshire to go with his 170 against Essex and 91 against Northants.
But Crawley also has four single figure scores this season to prove what we knew already – he is capable of great innings but also has a flawed defence and will never be consistent. No matter. It still looks like he will be walking out at Edgbaston for the first Ashes Test on June 16 – and we can only hope Anderson will be there too.
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