‘He’s distraught’: Anderson Ashes future in balance
THE immediate playing future of England's most precious asset, Jimmy Anderson, is unclear with fears the "distraught" paceman's aggravated calf injury could rock their Ashes campaign.
The 37-year-old was a late inclusion in England's playing XI having convinced the team's medical staff that he'd recovered from a calf injury suffered a month ago.
But that backfired spectacularly, with Anderson breaking down after just four overs - leaving England a bowler short and prompting questions about how he was passed fit in the first place, and whether he should've been picked ahead of young star Jofra Archer.
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The swing king went so far as to apologise to his England teammates for leaving them in the lurch and likely a player short for the rest of the Test.
He will anxiously await scans to reveal the damage with fellow paceman Stuart Broad admitting he could be facing "a couple of weeks" on the sideline, which would destroy his Ashes hopes given the condensed schedule of five Tests in six weeks.
"He is down, he's frustrated. He actually came and said sorry to the bowlers," Broad revealed after taking 5-86.
"Not that he's got anything to be sorry for, but he's just - he's distraught he couldn't be out there today but I don't know the next step with it.
"It could show not much and he'll bowl second innings, or it could show something and it might be a couple of weeks.
"He feels like he's let the bowling group down but, of course, he hasn't.
"He's a bit distraught."
Without Anderson, England ran out of answers against a rampant Steve Smith - with Broad admitting he was exhausted after carrying the bulk of the workload, sending down 22.4 overs.
"I feel pretty exhausted. I'd forgotten how nerve-racking and tense Ashes cricket is," he said.
England's woes were compounded by a poor bowling display from fourth seamer Ben Stokes, who took 1-77 from 18 overs and conceded runs at a worrying 4.27 an over, while Moeen Ali had 1-42 from 13 overs.
"If Jimmy's not able to bowl again, then Moeen's going to be our key man," Broad said.
"He bowled beautifully today I thought … and it will go back top those sort of days when we played a three-seamer attack with Swanny (former spinner Graeme Swann).
"Mo can do an attacking, holding and the seamers can fire from one end."