Anderson pulled up sharply after bowling the third ball of the 33rd over of Australia’s second innings, then aborted his run up for the fourth and immediately left the field looking in some discomfort.
Mitchell Johnson started the day with vintage short-ball dismissals of Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes, becoming the fifth Australian to 300 Test scalps, but ended in frustrated mood.
An England and Wales Cricket Board statement issued Friday confirmed that, following an overnight assessment, he had suffered a side strain.
He made his test debut as far back as 2010 but hadn’t played for his country in this format in two years after problems with his bowling action – including an unfortunate tendency to hit the stumps with his knee as he ran in.
England’s celebrations will be tempered, however, by the major blow of losing leading bowler James Anderson for the fourth test, and possibly the rest of the series, the paceman ruled out with a side strain.
Fast bowler Johnson held out a glimmer of hope for Australia by saying: “If we can get to 120 or 130 ahead we’ll have a really good crack at them. Hopefully I can come back stronger”.
A fiery Finn took five wickets on Thursday to leave England close to victory in the third test, letting Australia’s batsman know in no uncertain terms that he had fully exorcised the demons that blighted his career.
Durham’s Chris Rushworth, Yorkshire’s Jack Brooks and Liam Plunkett, Derbyshire’s Mark Footitt and Warwickshire’s Chris Woakes have all been touted as possible replacements. Hopefully his recovery and rehab is going well and it seems he will be up for selection.
“But pulling up halfway through an over, for someone like Jimmy, he wouldn’t stop like that if it wasn’t hurting”.
“He’s a huge player for us, the leader of our attack, and he sets the tone with everything he does. We have to look forward to that rather than what could be”.
“There’s a possibility I’ll be in the hat for the next squad, but the squad doesn’t get announced until tomorrow (Saturday) so I’ll find out just before I guess”, he said.
For the Middlesex bowler, the first Smith dismissal was “as nice a feeling I’ve had when taking a wicket ever… the first one back in test cricket meant a lot to me”.
We are still a big three wickets away and then some runs to get, its by no means done, he told reporters.