James Anderson. Picture: CARL RECINE / REUTERS
James Anderson. Picture: CARL RECINE / REUTERS

England’s fast bowling spearhead, James Anderson, has been ruled out of the rest of the Test series against SA with a rib injury.

The Lancashire bowler‚ who took 5/40 in SA’s first innings in the second Test, which England won by 189 runs at Newlands‚ bowled sporadically on the fifth day when he exhibited discomfort for the better part of the day.

The 37-year-old, who is England’s record Test wicket taker with 584 scalps from 151 matches‚ underwent an MRI scan on Wednesday morning.

Anderson felt tightness and discomfort at the end of the morning session on day five and was able to bowl only eight overs all day. He finished with 2/23 from 18 overs in SA’s marathon second innings.

The longevity question will again raise its head with Anderson‚ who has suffered injuries in recent years. In 2019 he bowled just four overs in the first Ashes Test against Australia before a calf injury sidelined him for the rest of the series.

In the current series‚ he has bowled 70 overs across the two games‚ but at his age it is highly unlikely he will be back for a joust against SA.

From a replacement perspective‚ England are covered as Craig Overton has joined the team‚ but Jofra Archer is more likely to play after missing the second Test with an elbow strain.

The third Test starts in Port Elizabeth on January 16.