Pat Cummins warned Tuesday an Australian side boasting some of “the all-time greats” will be tough to beat as England’s task became harder with Jimmy Anderson set to miss the first Test. The home team head into the Ashes opener in Brisbane on Wednesday defending the hallowed urn and with their arch-rivals having a dismal record in Australia, losing nine of their last 10 Tests.
The hurdles Joe Root’s men must jump got even higher with reports that veteran spearhead Anderson — Test cricket’s most prolific fast bowler — will not play at the Gabba.
“He’s obviously a great player and it’s a shame that he won’t be out there tomorrow, but it doesn’t change what we are going to do,” said the Australian captain, who will be taking charge of his first Test.
Anderson’s apparent absence leaves England to choose four bowlers from Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Ollie Robinson, Stuart Broad and Jack Leach to play alongside returning all-rounder Ben Stokes.
They were already without pacemen Jofra Archer, who is not on the tour as he recovers from an elbow injury, and Olly Stone who missed out because of back surgery.
The news comes a day after England captain Joe Root refused to unveil his team despite Australia confirming their starting eleven at the weekend.
“He’s going to be right up there as the biggest wicket, he’s had a really good last 12 months or so, but I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s going to make it or break it for them,” he said.