James Anderson left the field three balls into his ninth over in Australia's second innings at Edgbaston on Thursday © Getty Images
James Anderson left the field three balls into his ninth over in Australia’s second innings at Edgbaston on Thursday © Getty Images

England pacer James Anderson has been ruled out of the remainder of the third Ashes Test against Australia at Edgbaston and next week’s fourth Test at Trent Bridge, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced on Friday. Anderson, England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker, left the field three balls into his ninth over in Australia’s second innings at Edgbaston on Thursday. An ECB statement confirmed he had suffered a side strain. “England bowler James Anderson has been ruled out of remainder of the current Investec Ashes Test with a side strain,” the statement said. “Anderson will be unavailable for the fourth Test beginning on Thursday 6 August at Trent Bridge and his availability for the final Test in the series (at The Oval on August 20) will be determined in due course.”

Earlier on Thursday, Steven Finn took England to the verge of a stunning victory in the third Test against Australia at Edgbaston on Thursday and a 2-1 Ashes series lead. At the close of a remarkable second day, Australia were 168 for seven in their second innings — a lead of just 23 runs — with three wickets standing and three days left to play. Middlesex fast bowler Finn, recalled for his first Test since 2013, had taken five wickets for 45 runs in 13 overs following his two for 38 in Australia’s meagre first innings 136.

Opener David Warner struck a defiant 77 on Thursday, one of only three double-figure scores so far in Australia’s second innings. Peter Nevill was 37 not out after being dropped on 35 when opposing wicket-keeper Jos Buttler failed to hold what would have been a stunning diving catch off Stuart Broad. Mitchell Starc was unbeaten on seven.

A mere 19 matches in the 138-year history of Test cricket had ended inside two days, with the last occurrence in England when the West Indies were beaten by an innings and 39 runs at Headingley in 2000.