London: England's pace spearhead James Anderson is set to miss the fifth and final Ashes Test after losing a fitness battle.
James Anderson. Pic/AFP
The final Test begins on Thursday at The Oval cricket ground with England already claiming an unassailable 3-1 lead in the series. Anderson, England's leading Test wicket-taker, missed the Ashes-clinching victory in the fourth Test at the Trent Bridge cricket ground, due to a side strain sustained in the third match triumph.
Anderson is still a week away from full fitness despite his best efforts, an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) statement said on Wednesday.
Skipper Alastair Cook, in his pre-match press conference on Wednesday, said: "Unfortunately Jimmy is not going to make it. He's gutted about it. He's made really good progress from where he was at Edgbaston but this is a week or so too soon."
"He bowled in the nets yesterday but at about 60-70 per cent and that's not how you go into a game. He's really gutted. The medical team have been brilliant with him but he's still about a week away."
England are set to name an unchanged XI for the match. Asked if Anderson's exclusion meant England would retain the same team, Cook added: "Yes, if everyone pulls up well today."