James Anderson, aged 37, is out of cricket for two more months after damaging a rib in his left side during England’s second Test victory over South Africa.
“The Lancashire bowler underwent an MRI scan in Cape Town on Wednesday morning,” an ECB spokesman revealed. “Anderson felt tightness and discomfort at the end of the morning session on day five and was only able to bowl eight overs during the day.”
It is a bitter blow for England and their highest ever wicket-taker as Anderson bowled as well as ever in taking five wickets for 40 in South Africa’s first innings at Newlands. It was Anderson’s first contribution of note since the tour of the West Indies almost a year ago, owing to a recurring calf injury.
Anderson will return to the UK in the next few days, according to the ECB, and Somerset’s Craig Overton will remain as cover. But England already have ample cover in Jofra Archer, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood, all of whom are expected to be fit for the third Test starting in Port Elizabeth on Thursday week.
Fate could have been kinder to Anderson. He went into last summer on 575 Test wickets. A nice little inaugural Test against Ireland at one of his favourite grounds, Lord’s, then a five-Test series against Australia with a brand of ball specifically designed for him and Stuart Broad: he could have had his 600th wicket at the Oval and become the first pace bowler to reach such a landmark.
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