Derby: England star James Anderson has been ruled out of the remainder of the Ashes series with a calf injury, in a blow to home hopes of winning the series against Australia.
Anderson, England's all-time leading wicket-taker, has not bowled in the series since breaking down with the injury after delivering just four overs in Australia's 251-run win in the first Test at Edgbaston.
The 37-year-old Lancashire paceman had tried to get fit for the fourth Test at his Old Trafford home ground starting on Wednesday. But after bowling during a second XI match against Durham this week he has been declared unfit for the final two Tests of the series.
On the same day Australia had better news, with star batsman Steve Smith proving his fitness by batting in his first competitive game since suffering concussion after being felled by fast bowler Jofra Archer in the second Ashes test.
Smith, in the middle for 47 minutes in Australia's three-day match against Derbyshire, faced 38 balls and struck two fours on his way to a total of 23 before he was caught out. Not a great innings but a morale booster for the tourists.
England will travel to Manchester all square at 1-1 in the five-match contest after Ben Stokes's stunning 135 not saw them to a dramatic one-wicket win in the third Test at Headingley last week.
"England and Lancashire seamer James Anderson has been ruled out for the rest of the Specsavers Ashes series," said an England and Wales Cricket Board statement issued Friday.
"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"He immediately sought a medical assessment from Lancashire and was withdrawn from the remainder of the game," the statement added.