James Anderson ruled out of Ashes, Steve Smith bats for first time since concussion

England pace bowler James Anderson will miss the final two Tests of the Ashes series after his calf injury flared up again. (Reuters)
Updated 30 August 2019

James Anderson ruled out of Ashes, Steve Smith bats for first time since concussion

  • Craig Overton has been added to England's squad as another seam option
  • Smith took to the crease in the three-day tour game at Derby on Friday

LONDON: England pace bowler James Anderson will miss the final two Tests of the Ashes series after his calf injury flared up again.

Anderson, England's record wicket-taker in Tests, was kept out of the second and third matches of the series against Australia after tearing a calf muscle in the first Test at Edgbaston.

In attempting to prove his fitness for the fourth Test starting in Manchester on Wednesday, Anderson played for Lancashire's reserve team in a four-day friendly match this week but had to pull out midway through.

England said Anderson "became aware of right calf pain" and is now unavailable for the remaining Ashes Tests.

Craig Overton has been added to England's squad as another seam option.

England and Australia are tied 1-1 with two tests left in the Ashes.




Australia star Steve Smith was out for just 23 in his first innings since being felled by England fast bowler Jofra Archer. (AFP)

Meanwhile, Australia star Steve Smith was out for just 23 in his first innings since being felled by England fast bowler Jofra Archer and suffering concussion in the second Ashes Test.

Smith took to the crease in the three-day tour game at Derby on Friday, coming in with Australia 179-2 in reply to Derbyshire's first innings 172.

He played his opening ball from Hamidullah Qadri defensively and later slogged the off-spinner for four.

But his 38-ball knock came to an end when he sliced a drive off Matt Critchley, a leg-spinner whose previous 59 first-class wickets had come at an expensive average of 51.86, and Qadri, running in from the cover boundary, held a well-judged catch.

Australia were then 237-3 in the 70th over.

Smith, who was in the middle for 47 minutes, faced 38 balls and struck two fours.

But the only five balls he faced that weren't from a slow bowler came from medium-pacer Anuj Dal.

Smith kept his pads on after walking back into the pavilion and soon afterwards headed into the nets in the company of Australia opener David Warner, not playing against Derbyshire.

This was former Australia captain Smith's first match since being hit on his unprotected neck by a 92 mph bouncer from Archer during the drawn second Test at Lord's.


Neymar limps off as Brazil draw with Nigeria

Updated 14 October 2019

Neymar limps off as Brazil draw with Nigeria

  • The 27-year-old’s return to Champions League action may now be delayed

SINGAPORE: Neymar limped off injured early on as Brazil played out a 1-1 friendly draw against a spirited Nigeria at the Singapore National Stadium on Sunday.

The five-time world champions fell behind in the first half, but Casemiro's equalizer early in the second period prevented a loss but then  Brazil were unable to leave Southeast Asia with a victory by wasting chances, after also being held by Senegal on Thursday.

Brazil started well, with Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino firing just wide in the third minute after a smart turn near the penalty spot.

However, Brazil were dealt a major blow when Neymar limped off in the 12th minute with what appeared to be a left thigh problem — the Paris Saint-Germain striker replaced by Bayern Munich’s Philippe Coutinho to bring a premature end to his 101st international appearance.

Neymar's return to Champions League action may now be delayed, with PSG facing Club Brugge on Oct. 22 after the world’s most expensive player missed the first two games through suspension.

“During the match he felt a muscle injury, so I took him off as a precaution,” Brazil coach Tite said.

“Neymar did not have a muscle issue before the match. I would never start a player if they had a hint of a problem like this, I would never pay that price,” Tite added of the 27-year-old, who has suffered a string of injuries since his move from Barcelona to PSG in 2017.

“My career has taught me that I would never use a player if he was not in condition to play. It would be irresponsible of me to risk a player carrying an injury.”

Neymar will be disappointed he was unable to draw level with Brazil legend Ronaldo, who sits second in the country’s all-time scoring list behind Pele, on 62 international goals this week. But Nigeria provided resolute opposition by working hard to prevent the South Americans from forging many clear openings.

Gabriel Jesus, Firmino and Coutinho all went close for Brazil, but it was Nigeria who took the lead in the 35th minute when Joe Aribo burst through a gap in the South Americans' defence and skipped around Marquinhos before firing low past goalkeeper Ederson from close range.

The smart strike was the English-born player's second goal in two appearance for Nigeria after the Rangers midfielder scored on his debut against Ukraine last month.

A more determined Brazil needed just three minutes after the interval to draw level, however, as Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro slotted home after a Marquinhos header had rattled the crossbar following a well-worked corner.

Brazil ramped up the pressure as the match progressed, stretching the Nigeria defence with sharp passing and clever movement as Casemiro, Jesus and half-time substitute Richarlison all came close to giving their side the lead.

Tite's men poured forward in search of a winner with Coutinho guilty of wasting a glorious opportunity with five minutes remaining when the unmarked midfielder's weak effort was cleared off the line by Semi Ajayi.

"I thought it was a good match for us and we created plenty of chances but just could not get that second goal," Tite added. "We definitely missed Neymar's creativity after he went off."