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Anderson out of South Africa series with rib injury

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CAPE TOWN         –       Two Tests after making a return from a calf injury that had kept him out of the bulk of the 2019 Ashes series at home, senior England paceman James Anderson has suffered another setback: a left rib injury that will keep him out of the remainder of the South Africa tour. Anderson made a much anticipated comeback at Centurion, amid talk of his durability in the five-day game. At 37 years old, the fast bowler is closer to the end of his career than he is to its beginning. But a five-wicket haul in Cape Town – his 28th in Test cricket, which took him past Ian Botham for the England record and helped his team level the four-match series – showed he still can be effective. However, on the final day of the Test, which England won by 189 runs, Anderson complained of tightness and discomfort at the end of the morning session. He continued to bowl nevertheless, with South Africa putting up a fight to save the Test. A subsequent scan revealed a bone-related problem that would require six to eight weeks to heal. That could still mean that Anderson recovers in time for the two-Test tour of Sri Lanka in March. However, the world’s most successful fast bowler had earlier expressed his desire to sit out the tour, where the conditions would largely be out of his favour, and could instead target a return for the three-match home series against West Indies in June. Somerset fast bowler Craig Overton will stay in South Africa to provide cover for Anderson. England bounced back from a 107-run defeat in the Boxing Day series opener to level the four-match series. The teams are currently enjoying an eight-day break, before clashing in the third Test in Port Elizabeth from 16 January.

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