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James Anderson hands England early Ashes injury worry

England are likely to be without James Anderson for the remainder of the 1st Test after he experienced a recurrence of tightness in his right calf.

Anderson, the leading wicket-taker in England's Test history, 1st tore his right calf muscle while playing for Lancashire against Durham at Sedburgh on July 2. While the England management were confident he had fully recovered from the injury, he experienced further discomfort during his fourth over of the match at Edgbaston and left the field for treatment.

While he returned to the pitch a short while later, he did not bowl again and the England management have now said he will undergo a scan on Thursday afternoon. If that scan shows any new tear, there is a strong chance that Anderson will be ruled out of the next 2 or 3 Tests. Even if it does not, it is hard to imagine England will risk worsening the injury by asking Anderson to bowl.

The news is bound to raise questions about the wisdom of playing Anderson, who celebrated his 37th birthday earlier this week, and the medical advice the management received. He has, however, bowled without discomfort in training - notably on Monday, when he was one of 3 players who appeared at an optional net session - though England's preparations were hit by poor weather and he may not have bowled the number of overs ahead of the game that might have been envisaged. England were forced to train indoors on Tuesday, where most of the seamers did not bowl due to concerns about the risk of impact issues, while the nets were damp on Wednesday, which meant most bowlers having gentle sessions on the outfield.

England were tempted to name Jofra Archer in their team for this first Test. The management reasoned, however, that it would be a risk to go into a game with two bowlers coming back from injury.

If - as is likely - Anderson is unable to bowl for the rest of the game, it will reduce England to a 4-man attack of Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes, Ben Stokes plus the offspin of Moeen Ali. And while England would, in normal circumstances, be thought to have enjoyed the best of the 1st session of the series - Australia were three down at lunch - concern over the extent of Anderson's injury will take much of the gloss off that bright start.