Calf issue means England will not risk Anderson for First Ashes Test

With two pink-ball Tests set to be played in the series – including the Second Test in Adelaide – England are keen to have Anderson at full tilt, so he will sit out the opener.

Anderson is 39 and had to withdraw from the last Ashes series after just four overs at Edgbaston with another muscle injury.

England could have thrown caution to the wind and played their record wicket-taker on a surface that is expected to be green, but feel they have the options to cover his absence in what could be a game shortened by the weather.

Chris Woakes is set to play in Anderson’s place, with Mark Wood and Ollie Robinson also likely to make the XI. Whether Anderson’s old mucker Stuart Broad plays depends on whether they opt for a spinner, Jack Leach. The spinner appears favourite to play.

Broad, 35, has not played since early August due to a calf tear. Given their limited warm-up (rain meant seven days’ warm-p became just seven sessions), England are wary of overburdening their ageing champions Anderson and Broad.

It is felt that playing the First Test would significantly lessen their chances of playing the Second, which begins just four days after the opener ends. It was always likely that only one of Anderson and Broad would play each of the first two Tests.

Ben Stokes will complete a five-man attack, but is unlikely to be overworked as he also eases back into action.

England are likely to slim their squad of 18 down to 13 for the match today, leaving Anderson out. The other selection question is Ollie Pope or Jonny Bairstow at No6.

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