England captain Joe Root has no regrets over the selection of James Anderson at Edgbaston – despite the recurrence of an injury that restricted the veteran seamer to just four overs.
Anderson, the most successful Test bowler in England’s history with 575 wickets, was out of action for a month prior to the first Ashes Test after picking up a calf injury while playing for Lancashire.
The 37-year-old then pulled up on the first morning at Edgbaston and did not bowl again in the match, weakening England’s attack as Australia fought back from 122-8 in their first innings to triumph by 251 runs.
“He passed every medical test – he was fit to play,” Root insisted. “And it’s one of those freak scenarios where he pulled up.
“I think because it’s the same calf, we’re not sure if it’s a slightly different injury or what yet. We’ll have to wait and see what the scans say.
“It’s an easy thing to look back on and say we’d have done things differently, but he passed all of the testing, as I said, and it was a unanimous decision for him to play.”
Anderson did manage to bat in both England innings – albeit with limited mobility – but the injury makes him a doubtful starter for the second Test, which gets underway at Lord’s on Wednesday, August 14, live on Sky Sports.
Jofra Archer, who was England’s leading wicket-taker in the World Cup earlier this summer, is a leading candidate to come into the Test side if Anderson fails to recover in time.
The 24-year-old seamer has also struggled with his fitness lately, but has played two Vitality Blast games for Sussex and is also due to turn out for the county’s second XI later this week.
“With Jofra, we’re in a slightly different situation where he’ll have played a lot of cricket in between and we’ll have a clearer idea of where he’s at,” said Root.
“We’ve got to make sure we’re very clear about we approach the next game and not make too many emotional decisions. We’ll sit down as a selection panel and pick a squad from there.”
Although Root’s side crumbled to 146 all out in their second innings, with Australia spinner Nathan Lyon taking 6-49, the England skipper remains optimistic of overturning the 1-0 deficit.
England vs Australia
August 14, 2019, 10:00am
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“I think we’ve got the confidence that we need,” Root added. “Obviously we’d prefer to be 1-0 up, but [we’ve got] four games and plenty of time to think things through before the next one.
“There’s things that we can take from the game, absolutely – I thought for three days we were brilliant. To get into that position of a 90-run lead was a strong one.