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Ashes: England rest veteran pacer James Anderson for the Brisbane Test starting Wednesday

James Anderson

Brisbane, December 7: The England team management on Tuesday (December 7) issued a clarification saying pacer James Anderson is fully fit and he has just been rested from the upcoming first Ashes Test against Australia, starting on Wednesday (December 8) at the Gabba.

This clarification came hours after several media reports stated Anderson was ruled out of the first Test due to a calf strain.

"Jimmy is fit to play, and is not carrying an injury. With five Tests in six weeks the plan was to get him ready for the second Test in Adelaide.

“With the limited build-up we have had so far on the tour, both him and the management didn't want to take the risk of him playing after what had happened in 2019 at Edgbaston, when he broke down on the first morning," stated an ECB statement.

"He bowled at full capacity yesterday for just short of an hour and was in a good place physically. He will do the same again today at practice.

“He will stay with the Test group this week and work with the coaches at the Gabba rather than playing for the Lions," it added.

Cricket Australia (CA) on Monday (December 6) had confirmed that the fifth men's Ashes Test match will be relocated from Perth Stadium due to COVID-19 pandemic-related restrictions.

CA and Western Australian Cricket (WA Cricket) have worked closely and constructively with the Western Australia Government and Perth Stadium over several months, with the shared goals of prioritizing the health and well-being of the WA community, while providing the best possible environment for the players, their families, match officials, staff and broadcast partners.

Discussions about a replacement venue for the fifth Test match are underway.

Anderson injured?

As per a report in Sydney Morning Herald, Anderson has been ruled out due to a calf strain and this is the same problem that had ruined his 2019 campaign.

England management has decided to rest Anderson for the first Test to ensure that he is raring to go for the pink-ball second Test slated to be played in Adelaide.

England eye Gabba conquest

Anderson and Stuart Broad were the only members of the England squad who were born when the tourists last won an Ashes Test at the Gabba.

The hostile iconic Brisbane venue has been such a fortress for Australia that you have to go back to November 1986 for their previous Test defeat to England at the ground where the 2021-22 series starts on Wednesday (December 8).

Yet India consigned Australia to a first Gabba loss in the longest format for over 32 years in January and England captain Joe Root is backing his side to end the hoodoo, despite a lack of match practice due to rain.

The world's number one Test batter said: "[Victory] would absolutely set us up for the rest of the series and it's a great opportunity.

"This group of players, not that long ago, went to Cape Town where we've not won a Test for a long period of time and off the back of a performance there won the series.

"I feel like we have been able to do that around the world and this is an opportunity to do that here. Obviously conditions are slightly different to home, at this venue in particular with that extra bit of bounce, but we have prepared as well as we can for that. If we manage that well we should give a really good account of ourselves and start well."

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Story first published: Tuesday, December 7, 2021, 9:06 [IST]
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