James Anderson has been ruled out of the rest of the Ashes series due to pain in his right calf, the England and Wales Cricket Board has announced.

England’s record Test wicket-taker limped out of the action on day one of the opening match in the series at Edgbaston, and has not been involved since.

However, the 37-year-old seamer clung to the hope he would be able to prove his fitness in time for the matches at Old Trafford and The Oval.

His prospects looked to be improving as he took part in two second XI matches for his county Lancashire, but Anderson suffered a setback on Thursday, and medical checks dealt him bad news.

The ECB said on its website: "England and Lancashire seamer James Anderson has been ruled out for the rest of the Specsavers Ashes series.

"Whilst bowling in the ninth over on Thursday in Lancashire’s second XI four-day friendly against Durham at Chester Boughton Hall Cricket Club, Anderson became aware of right calf pain following on from 20 overs he had bowled on Tuesday

"He immediately sought a medical assessment from Lancashire and was withdrawn from the remainder of the game. Further review with the ECB medical team has confirmed that he will be unavailable for the remaining two Specsavers Ashes Tests."

Given his track record, Anderson looked sure to return to the England squad at Old Trafford, where a stand is named in his honour, providing he came through his low-profile county outings.

England have instead been prompted to look elsewhere to find competition in the bowling department, with Somerset’s Craig Overton called up for the first time since March 2018.

The fast-medium bowler has played in three Tests, including defeats to Australia in Adelaide and Perth in the 2017 Ashes.

He has 32 wickets at 21.34 apiece in the County Championship this season, and together with Sam Curran could rival Chris Woakes for a place in the team for Old Trafford, with the fourth Test due to start on September 4.


England squad for fourth Test: Joe Root (captain), Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow (wicketkeeper), Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Craig Overton, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes.
 

 

Ben Stokes produced a box-office innings in the third Ashes Test and Jack Leach has revealed the England hero did so while wearing his team-mate's crotch protection.

England pulled off one of the most remarkable Test victories of all time at Headingley on Sunday as Stokes made an unbeaten 135 in a one-wicket win against Australia that kept the series alive.

He produced his most incredible shots alongside last man Leach, with their unbroken 76-run partnership denying Australia, who would have retained the urn had they found a way to get either player out.

Leach, who only made one not out from 17 balls as Stokes brilliantly farmed the strike, has now confirmed that England's superstitious hero has made Ashes centuries in successive Tests wearing a box he borrowed from the tailender.

"He uses my box now," Leach explained to BBC Somerset.

"In the Lord's game, he had to get ready quite quickly. There were a couple of wickets and he lost his box so he was panicking.

"He was like, 'Leachy, can I borrow your box?'

"He was not out at the end of the day and he was like, 'This is going to sound weird, but I need to keep using your box'.

"So obviously I was like, 'Yeah, that's fine'. 

"After that innings he was like, 'Mate, I'm going to have to keep that box now, it's a bit of a superstitious thing', and if Ben Stokes is happy, then I'm happy.

"It obviously worked again in this case."

Stokes made 115 not out in the second Test at Lord's, which ended as a draw, and appeared to be caught right in the area Leach's box was protecting from a Josh Hazlewood delivery during that innings.

Jofra Archer feared he had cost England the Ashes when his efforts to match Ben Stokes' big hitting in the third Test came up short.

With just Stuart Broad and Jack Leach to come in the order, Archer appeared to represent England's last realistic hope as they chased a target of 359 to beat Australia and level the series at Headingley.

Archer, the star of the drawn second match at Lord's when on debut, hit three fours and made 15 but was then caught on the boundary by Travis Head to reduce the home side to 286-8.

Leaving Stokes to do the heavy lifting all by himself, Archer thought he had blown England's last chance for glory in Leeds.

"I wanted to make it less hard work for Ben, but I got out," he told reporters. "I thought I had messed the series up - not just the game but the series.

"So I am very relieved that we are still alive and fighting. Your coach always tells you, 'Don't leave it for anyone else'. I tried to do as much of it as I could.

"We have all seen enough cricket to know 80 to win with just one wicket left against the Australian bowling attack...

"We were very grateful to be on the winning side, that is all I can say."

Leach proved to be the unlikely hero to assist Stokes, however, as England pulled off a sensational recovery with their last-wicket pair at the crease.

The hosts won in similarly dramatic fashion in the Cricket World Cup final against New Zealand and Archer believes these narrow victories provide a confidence boost to the players.

"I still watch the World Cup highlights," he said. "But all I can say is that Headingley game was special. When [Nathan] Lyon fumbled the run out, you could hear a heartbeat in the dressing room.

"It just shows our fight. No one rolled over and played dead, everyone wanted to win, even the number 11 was very keen to get stuck in. He (Leach) will be called upon again at some point in the series.

"We got a taste of what it is like to win from nowhere, so I guess we can take that on with us."

England paceman Jofra Archer hit back at Australia batsman Steve Smith as the pair traded jibes ahead of the fourth Ashes Test.

Smith is set to return from a concussion at Old Trafford when the fourth Test begins on Wednesday, in a huge boost for the tourists with the series locked at 1-1.

The star batsman was ruled out of the third Test, which England incredibly won by one wicket, after being hit by an Archer bouncer at Lord's.

Smith reminded fans Archer was yet to get him out during the Ashes and the England paceman offered a response.

"Well, I can't get him out if he wasn't there," he told UK newspapers, via The Guardian.

"But there'll be more than ample time to get him out. I'm not saying I won't get him out but if we don't get him out there's 10 other people we can get out and if he's stranded on 40 that's not helping his team too much.

"He can't do it all himself. We want to win the game. I'm not here to get caught up in a contest with one man. I want to win the Ashes."

Led by Ben Stokes (135 not out), England incredibly chased down a target of 359 to draw level in the series at Headingley.

Archer believes that win is set to give the hosts a psychological advantage for the remainder of the series.

"That's the thing, never get complacent. To be fair, 359 runs is a lot of runs. The crowd started to get on their backs as well, I think they panicked a bit," he said.

"They probably thought they were going to roll us if they got a few quick early wickets but they didn't and I'm glad we showed some resistance because the series isn't over and in the upcoming games I don't think they'll declare now.

"If they do have a chance I don't think they'll be too attacking. If they draw the series they still get to retain the Ashes."

Usman Khawaja insisted England's miraculous triumph in the third Test at Headingley has only fuelled Australia's desire to retain the Ashes.

Ben Stokes' inspired display kept the five-Test series alive as hosts England amassed their highest ever fourth-innings run chase in Leeds, where the hosts prevailed by one wicket last week.

Australia, however, will be able to welcome talisman Steve Smith back to the fold for the Old Trafford Test after the star batsman missed the Headingley clash due to a concussion sustained at Lord's.

Smith will play a three-day tour match against Derbyshire, with Khawaja captaining an Australia side which also includes Marcus Harris, Cameron Bancroft and Marnus Labuschagne.

Khawaja acknowledged Australia's defeat was a tough blow to take, but he has no doubt the tourists will bounce back before the end of the series, with one win from the two remaining Tests enough to retain the urn.

"Disappointing for us but hopefully it'll make the next game or the game after even more sweet when we do win," Khawaja said. "It was an excellent innings [from Stokes]. The way it ended, the drama, you couldn't write a script like that. It was heartbreaking for us as a team.

"It was a good game if you look at it from the eyes of a fan, what an amazing game.  I hope it's not too much of an epic [series]. The last game was clearly epic for England fans, and there have been great Ashes rivalries and games. 

"We played beautifully in the last game, we were so close to winning the Ashes, and if a few things go our way at the end then we would have done.

"We've played some really good cricket and we're confident we'll get that win."

With the fourth Test not starting until September 4, there is a 10-day gap between the matches, though Khawaja does not believe it will have been easier for Australia if the break was a shorter one. 

"It doesn't make much difference. We already had two Tests back-to-back so it was pretty tough," Khawaja said.

"It's nice to get a bit of a break, refresh and go for the next two. Test cricket's always hard work, always tough competition. There's a lot of depth with Australia's squad, and they all deserve to play which is a good thing."

Chris Woakes has conceded he doubted even Ben Stokes could turn the tide in the third Ashes Test between England and Australia at Headingley.

Stokes amassed an incredible 135 not out and led a 76-run stand for the last wicket alongside number 11 Jack Leach as the hosts, who were all out for 67 in their first innings, chased down an unlikely target of 359 to level the series at 1-1 on Sunday.

Woakes witnessed a similarly superb performance from Stokes in a dramatic Cricket World Cup final victory over New Zealand in July, though he thought England's chances of keeping the Ashes alive in Leeds were all but over.

"I've seen Ben do some incredible things on the cricket field but I thought this one was just out of reach for him to be honest," Woakes told the BBC's Stumped programme.

"I thought he was done, it was done, and when the score starts creeping down to about 50 to win you start thinking, 'What if I'd been able to build a little bit of a partnership and get a bit closer?'

"We were kind of resigned to the fact that it was pretty much done.

"It was a very nervous and tense dressing room, and the closer Stokesy and Jack got the more tense it got, because we started thinking it was possible, which is a dangerous place to be."

England made their way back onto the field several hours after the game, and Woakes believes it was important to revel in the achievement.

"We went onto the outfield as a team to share the moment," he said.

"Although we realise it's mid-series, it was important to realise how special that game actually was, for Stokesy to do something unbelievable and incredible and you probably won't see that again."

Ben Stokes believes his remarkable Headingley heroics can only be truly judged if they lead to England regaining the Ashes.

Stokes compiled a sensational 135 not out as England chased down 359 to claim a one-wicket win in Leeds last week, levelling the five-match series at 1-1 after three Tests.

The all-rounder's blistering assault in a last-wicket stand of 76 alongside Jack Leach effectively secured him national-hero status – six weeks on from his man-of-the-match showing in a similarly breathless Cricket World Cup final triumph against New Zealand.

Stokes' career is increasingly one of incredible deeds – his Test best of 258 versus South Africa in 2016 another stand-out moment – but the 28-year-old thinks his latest exploits will only feel worthwhile if England take back possession of the urn.

"At the moment, it was right up there, when we hit the winning runs," he told Sky Sports News.

"I remember telling the lads at lunchtime [on Sunday] when we'd only lost the one wicket, 'Everything we've done in those two hours means nothing if we don't win this game.'

"It sort of feels the same. If we don't get these Ashes back, what will it feel like? I would take real satisfaction out of that innings if we end up winning the Ashes, because I'll know it got us back into the series."

Nevertheless, Stokes appreciates he and his team-mates are playing at a momentous and potentially influential time for the sport in their homeland.

"We are very aware as a team and as players we have a responsibility to inspire the next generation of cricketers," he said.

"With what we did in the first half of the summer at the World Cup, we did that. Our goal is to keep trying to improve that and keep trying to get more people into the game.

"Hopefully if we can win the Ashes then we'll see the next generation of cricketers coming out in England over the next 20 years."

Leach's part in Stokes' match-winning effort will live similarly long in the memory after the number 11 repelled 17 balls – concluding with the single that brought the scores level.

The Somerset left-arm spinner frequently cleaned his glasses between deliveries and Specsavers have agreed to provide Leach with free spectacles for life after Stokes lobbied the opticians to do so on Twitter.

"That's been everywhere," Stokes chuckled. "Jack Leach cleaning his glasses is a pretty iconic picture that's been taken from that game.

"I've seen the video of him running down the wicket after we won that game has gone viral as well.

"He's obviously got to take a lot of credit for us being able to get over the line. Those 17 balls he faced are probably the most crucial he's ever going to have in his career."

Nathan Lyon sparked injury fears for Australia on Wednesday but his ankle issue is not believed to be serious.

The off-spinner, who moved past the great Dennis Lillee and on to 357 Test wickets during last week's remarkable one-wicket defeat to England at Headingley, twisted his ankle during a game of touch rugby ahead of Australia's tour match with Derbyshire.

However, Omnisport understands Lyon sat out the remainder of the training session as a mere precaution and, had he been in similar pain during a Test match, he would have stayed on the field.

The 31-year-old was at the centre of two huge flashpoints as a stunning contest in Leeds reached its conclusion, with Ben Stokes' magnificent 135 not out tying the series at 1-1 heading into next week's fourth Test at Old Trafford.

When England needed two runs to win, Lyon fumbled a simple run-out chance with last man Jack Leach well short of his ground.

Stokes thumped four of his eight sixes off Lyon, but the all-rounder survived a strong lbw appeal with next the delivery after Leach's run-out scare.

Replays indicated the ball would have gone on to hit the stumps, although Australia had used up their final review during the previous over, leaving Stokes to lash Pat Cummins through the covers and complete one of the most remarkable comeback wins in Test history.

Star batsman Steve Smith will return from his concussion absence in the three-day game at Derby, which starts on Thursday.

Usman Khawaja will captain the side, with Alex Carey called in from his stint at Sussex to keep wicket – allowing captain Tim Paine to rest up alongside Lyon, Cummins, David Warner, Travis Head, Josh Hazlewood and James Pattinson from the XI in action at Headingley.

Left-arm paceman Mitchell Starc and right-arm seamer Peter Siddle will look to press their claims for inclusion in Manchester, the former having yet to feature in the Test series.

Australia have named a much-changed team for their tour match against Derbyshire as they begin preparations for the fourth Ashes Test.

The tourists were beaten in a draining third match at Headingley as Ben Stokes produced one of Test cricket's greatest innings to secure a one-wicket England win.

From that side, unsurprisingly, there are a number of changes against Derbyshire for the fixture starting on Thursday, with Steve Smith recalled following his absence with concussion.

"I'm feeling pretty good," he said. "I faced some bowlers in the nets the other day. It's a bit of a slow process, you've got to tick off a few different boxes.

"I'm going well and will play the Derby game. Get through that and I'm pretty confident I'll be right for the fourth Test match."

Smith is joined in the side by Alex Carey, who will take the gloves in captain Tim Paine's absence, and Mitchell Starc, who will look to force his way into the bowling attack.

Carey, who played at the Cricket World Cup, had been in county action with Sussex but has been called in to join the Australia group.

Cameron Bancroft and Peter Siddle return, while Mitchell Marsh and Michael Neser come in, with seven changes made in all.

Usman Khawaja is named captain of the side against Derbyshire, while Marnus Labuschagne, Smith's concussion replacement, remains.

David Warner, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon, who was heavily involved in the closing stages of England dramatic series-levelling win, are among those rested.

 

Australia XI to play Derbyshire: Usman Khawaja, Cameron Bancroft, Alex Carey, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitch Marsh, Michael Neser, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitch Starc, Matthew Wade.

Steve Smith was keen to remind cricket fans that Jofra Archer has not yet taken his wicket in the Ashes while questioning the England paceman's short-ball approach.

A gripping spell between Test debutant Archer and Australia talisman Smith in the second Test at Lord's ended with the batsman taking a bouncer to the neck, briefly forcing him off before returning to cheaply give up his wicket to Chris Woakes.

Concussion kept Smith from returning for the second innings as Australia clung on for a draw, while he was not fit to feature in the third Test either, where Ben Stokes' Headingley heroics levelled the series.

However, the former Australia captain is set to return at Old Trafford next week and insisted Archer, seen as a series-turning talent, has not "got the wood" on him.

"There's been a bit of talk that he's got the wood over me, but he hasn't actually got me out," Smith said of Archer. "He hit me on the head on a wicket that was a bit up and down at Lord's.

"All the other bowlers have had more success against me, I daresay. I've faced them a bit more, but they've all got me out a lot more."

Marnus Labuschagne, Smith's replacement, has also taken a couple of Archer deliveries to the head, yet Australia's star man suggests these bouncers are unlikely to produce wickets.

Smith added: "If they’re bowling up there, it means they can't nick me off, or hit me on the pad, or hit the stumps.

"With the Dukes ball... I don't know, that's an interesting ploy."

Smith's temporary absence has prompted greater discussion of concussion in cricket, particularly given he was initially allowed to return to the crease at Lord's as his symptoms were delayed.

But the 30-year-old is happy with how the incident was handled, highlighting the pitfalls of a change that would see batsmen withdrawn after taking any hit.

"I felt pretty good, passed all my tests and was able to go and bat," he said. "Then it wasn't until later that evening that it hit me.

"As we've seen this series, there have been so many head knocks already. Marnus [has been hit a few times, Jos [Buttler] got hit at one point, Stokesy's been hit.

"If you're ruling people out from just hits every now and again, we won't have a game."

James Anderson continued his comeback from the calf injury he reaggravated in the first Ashes Test as he bowled for Lancashire's second XI on Tuesday.

Having been limited to just four overs at Edgbaston, Anderson has missed the last two matches of the Ashes, but seems fit enough to return - if selected - for England at Lancashire's home ground Old Trafford in the fourth Test, which begins next Wednesday.

With the series tied at 1-1 following Ben Stokes' heroics at Headingley, Australia are likely to welcome talisman Steve Smith back from his concussion-enforced absence, meaning news of Anderson's fitness will provide another timely boost for Joe Root's side.

The 37-year-old bowled 20 overs in total for the second XI, taking 1-38 and claiming nine maidens on day one of a four-day match against Durham's second XI.

Jofra Archer has impressed for England in Anderson's absence, taking 13 wickets in two matches, and Chris Woakes would seem the most likely to drop out of the hosts' bowling attack should Anderson return at Old Trafford. 

Pat Cummins was impressed with Tim Paine's response to Australia's difficult defeat in the third Ashes Test and is confident they can bounce back.

Australia looked to have wrapped up the match at Headingley and retained the urn on Sunday, only for Ben Stokes to produce an incredible unbeaten 135 to hand England victory by a single wicket.

There were numerous errors from the tourists in the closing stages, most notably the decision from captain Paine to waste a review against Jack Leach shortly before Stokes appeared to be trapped in front and umpire Joel Wilson gave not out.

But while Paine has come in for criticism, star bowler Cummins saw his skipper respond in a positive way as Australia prepare to take the fight to Old Trafford.

"Painey's been brilliant," Cummins said. "He walked straight into the changing room and said, 'It's 1-1, it's all good. Two more matches to go.'

"Bowlers, him as a captain, everyone makes decisions and you reflect after the game on what you could have done differently.

"But when you look at it, a couple of catches, maybe a missed run out... When a batsman comes out and scores 100-odd like that, hitting sixes off an off-spinner out of the rough so cleanly, you've just got to say, 'Well done.'

"Someone's had a day out. We'll be alright."

Cummins felt Australia dealt well with a topsy-turvy Test, adding: "I was really proud of how everyone stayed quite level.

"When we bowled them out for 67 or when they got a partnership, we were quite even. It's the sign of a pretty confident squad."

He repeated that, ultimately, the defeat was more due to Stokes' brilliance than anything Australia did wrong.

"We're obviously disappointed," Cummins said. "It's not too often you get in that position and someone takes the game away from you like Ben Stokes did.

"We had a few chances, but it was one of the all-time great innings. There were a few things we could have done differently but, on the whole, he just played one of those innings that's hard to stop."

Sir Ian Botham is ready to school Ben Stokes in how his life will change following the Ashes after describing the England all-rounder as "public property".

Stokes' remarkable match-winning knock of 135 not out at Headingley prompted comparisons to Botham's own efforts in 1981 that cemented him as a superstar.

Botham, the chairman at Durham, where Stokes plays his county cricket, knows the pressure the 28-year-old faces after also delivering in incredible fashion in July's Cricket World Cup final.

But England great Botham is confident Stokes will know he can dish out further pain to Australia in this series after recovering from the epic third Test in Leeds.

The 63-year-old borrowed an Australian phrase by saying Stokes "has got wood" on the tourists ahead of the fourth match at Old Trafford, meaning he has the competitive upper hand.

"He is 'the Special One' and I intend to call him that for the rest of his career," Botham told the Telegraph, repeating a moniker he used on Sky Sports on Sunday.

"He wants to be the best. He wants to be in the oven. He wants to be in the hottest place in the kitchen and he wants to take them all on. That is his character.

"It changed my life overnight. I think Ben's life will be the same. He will have no private life. He has to get used to that and so do the family. He is public property but it is a great place to be in for the long term."

Botham added: "I will take him out for dinner and have a bottle of wine and discuss it if he wants to. I think he is the kind of character who wants to improve on everything he does.

"He will wake up - it might take 48 hours to sink in - and he will think, 'I can do it, and I will do it again'.

"He has got them. He has got wood on Australia and, I tell you, there is no better feeling as an England cricketer."

Ben Stokes has climbed to a career-high second in the ICC's Test all-rounder rankings after his sensational display for England in the third Ashes Test at Headingley.

England superstar Stokes made an unbeaten 135 and carried the hosts to a scarcely believable one-wicket win over Australia to level the series at 1-1 after three matches.

The Durham man's reward was his highest ranking of second in the all-rounders' chart behind Jason Holder on Tuesday.

Stokes was also on the move in the batting standings, surging up to another career best of 13th.

Other Ashes stars on the rise included Jofra Archer catapulting up to 43 in the bowling rankings after just his second Test appearance.

Joe Root climbed to number seven among batsmen, where Steve Smith still trails Virat Kohli at the top of the standings. Pat Cummins remains the best bowler.

Test action elsewhere saw some more big movers. Tom Latham was up five to eighth in the batting rankings after a stunning 154 led New Zealand to an innings-and-65-run thrashing of Sri Lanka in the second Test in Colombo, while Jasprit Bumrah returned second-innings figures of 5-7 in India's 318-run win over West Indies in Antigua to jump nine places to seventh among bowlers.

Steve Harmison says England's Headingley hero Ben Stokes can be compared to Andrew Flintoff as he has "the biggest heart going".

But Harmison claims his former Durham team-mate has gone one step further than Flintoff following his brilliant Leeds century.

Stokes wrote his name into the history books with an epic knock in the third Ashes Test as England defeated Australia by a single wicket.

The England all-rounder made 135 not out to carry the hosts across the line and level the series, making 74 of his runs in an incredible 10th-wicket partnership of 76 with Jack Leach.

Stokes was immediately compared to past Ashes greats, including Flintoff, a key member of the 2005 winning side.

But Harmison, who played with both, suggests Stokes' almost single-handed efforts mean his innings must rank above anything produced by Flintoff or others.

"Ben reminds me of Freddie so much because the strongest characteristic they have is they have the biggest heart going," Harmison told the Telegraph.

He added: "But whereas Freddie was the jewel in the crown of a very good team, Ben has just single-handedly saved an Ashes series for England.

"Freddie balanced the books in 2005, he gave us a middle order that could take the game away from the opposition and he gave us something extra with the ball. But without Ben, the Ashes were gone, the urn was staying in Australia.

"What Ben did on Sunday I don't think will ever be beaten. Nobody in their right mind was backing England to win after they were bowled out for 67.

"They were beaten, but now they are in a position to win the Ashes. Ben did that. His team-mates need to win it for him now.

"I've never seen an innings like that from anyone, ever. I look at what Kevin Pietersen did in 2005 at The Oval, that got us over the line in the final game of an Ashes series, but what Ben did, you won't see anything like that again."

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