James Anderson will play for Lancashire’s second XI in a three-day game against Leicestershire in Liverpool this week instead of linking up with the Ashes squad in Headingley, as England’s selectors named an unchanged 12-man squad for the third Test of the series which gets underway on Thursday.
Anderson, who aggravated a minor calf tear on the first morning of the series and bowled just four overs in England’s 251-run defeat, missed this week’s Lord’s Test where Jofra Archer made an eye-catching debut in his place, but remained with the squad so that his recovery could be monitored.
He will continue to be assessed by the ECB on an ongoing basis, with a view to being recalled for the fourth Test of the series at Old Trafford in just over two weeks’ time.
“Anderson is making progress from his injured right calf,” said the ECB in a statement. “[He] will step up his rehabilitation this week by playing for Lancashire second XI against Leicestershire in a three-day friendly at Northern Cricket Club, Liverpool.”
Archer’s impact notwithstanding, Anderson’s absence was felt at Lord’s, where he has taken 103 wickets at 23.89 including six five-wicket hauls, especially on an overcast third morning when his ability to swing the Dukes ball would have been a priceless asset as England look to battle back in the series.
In his continuing absence, the left-arm swing of Sam Curran remains the only alternative bowling option in a 12-man squad, while England have kept faith with a batting line-up that began to find some form in the second innings at Lord’s.
Ben Stokes led the way with the bat, scoring his seventh Test hundred in the second innings, and his first since the Bristol incident in September 2017, while Jonny Bairstow made a battling fifty in the first innings and an unbeaten 30 in the second. Jos Buttler also showed some glimpses of form in making 31 in a 90-run partnership on the final day.
But Joe Denly, who made starts in both innings but was unable to go beyond 30, and Jason Roy, who made scores of 0 and 2, remain under scrutiny going into a match that England now cannot afford to lose if they are to maintain a winning record in home Ashes series that dates back to 2005.
And Joe Root, who picked up the first golden duck of his Test career at Lord’s, is also in need of a substantial innings after moving up to No.3 at the start of the series.
England squad Jason Roy, Rory Burns, Joe Root (capt), Joe Denly, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach, Sam Curran.