England's leading wicket-taker James Anderson is out of the first Test against South Africa in Durban with a calf injury. The 33-year-old has been suffering from the blow since the start of the tour and is expected to be replaced by Chris Woakes for the match starting on Boxing Day [26 December].
Chris Jordan and Mark Footitt were in contention to play ahead of Anderson, but while the duo took part in catching practice in the penultimate training session before the game, the Warwickshire seamer bowled in the nets alongside Stuart Broad and Steven Finn. Anderson could yet return in time for the second Test in Cape Town and will be assessed ahead of the game, but having bowled just five overs on the tour is down on match fitness.
Woakes has played just four Tests for England, the last coming against India in August 2014, but his proficiency with bat and ball makes him a valuable asset to the tourists. The 27-year-old has taken six wickets at 54.16 in his short career.
The loss of Anderson leaves England with a dearth of experience ahead of the meeting with the world number one-ranked Test nation. Of the team expected to play the first Test, only captain Alastair Cook, Broad and Joe Root have won 35 Test caps or more.
Another injury scare for England prior to the first Test came in the form of Root, who missed training due to illness. The Yorkshireman has an upset stomach, however the bug is not expect to effect his participation in Durban.