Jimmy doubt for final India Test at Oval

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James Anderson’s fitness for the fourth Test against India at The Oval remains an issue after he played only a limited part in practice yesterday.

Anderson appeared to show little discomfort from his thigh injury - described by the England and Wales Cricket Board as “minor” - during fielding drills.

But unlike his fellow seamers selected in the squad for Thursday, England’s pace spearhead did not bowl this afternoon.

Graham Onions was called up as bowling cover yesterday, after Chris Tremlett’s back problem ruled him out and Anderson’s niggle emerged.

Graeme Swann said he had been unaware of Anderson’s injury until today, and the off-spinner appears confident his team-mate will be fit in time.

“I honestly didn’t know he was injured until this morning when he told me everyone was saying he’s not going to play.

“Jimmy seemed fine to me - I’m sure it’s just a bit of stiffness. He didn’t seem to be limping from the car. I’m sure once he gets running around, he’ll want to play.

“I know how well he’s bowling at the minute - and when he’s doing well he’s hungry for the ball and just wants to keep going.”

Swann concedes it would be a blow to England, newly-established as the world’s top Test team, if Anderson were unavailable - but emphasises others could deputise admirably.

“He would be a huge loss, like any of the seamers,” he said.

“But we thought that with (Chris) Tremlett when he couldn’t play at Trent Bridge, and up stepped Bressie (Tim Bresnan) - and he’s been unbelievable in the two games he’s played.

“We have got vast stocks of fast bowlers at the minute.”

Swann likens the task facing England on Thursday to the one at Sydney in January, when the Ashes had been retained down under but were still to be won outright.

They responded with an innings-and-83-run victory.

“It’s a similar situation to after that Melbourne Test.

“A lot of people said the hard work was done, and people wouldn’t blame us for taking our foot off the gas at Sydney - but we actually pulled out our best performance of the trip.

“We’ll be looking to emulate that at The Oval, because if we even go halfway to matching that game at Sydney we’ll be doing well.

“I don’t think any of us wants to be in a room with Andy Flower (England team director) if we do take our foot off the gas. I know I don’t.

“The plans for this series were set in place for all four games, so all the plaudits and ‘high-fiving’ can save itself until we get a bit of a break in November and December.”