'Gutted' Anderson misses out for final Test
James Anderson could have played his final Ashes Test after being ruled out of the last installment of this campaign at the Kia Oval due to the side strain he sustained at Edgbaston.
Anderson had hoped to recover in time to return to the side, but Alastair Cook said that he had only been able to bowl at "60-70%" during England's training sessions on Monday and Tuesday. Cook also confirmed that barring any late injury problems England will name an unchanged team which means they will resist any temptation to give Adil Rashid a debut.
Although Anderson has said that he has ambitions to extend his England career for considerable time to come, at the age of 33 nothing is certain for a fast bowler. The next Ashes series is in Australia during the 2017-18 season.
"Unfortunately Jimmy isn't going to make it. He's gutted about it," Cook said. "He's made real good progress from where he was at Edgbaston but it's a week or so too early. He bowled in the nets yesterday at about 60-70%, that's not how you go into a game. He's worked really hard, it's just a bit early."
With confirmation that England will retain the same XI which won so convincingly at Trent Bridge it means that Rashid continues to wait for his Test debut. Cook said he was now far more confident around the England set-up having been in the squad throughout the series and can expect to play a role against Pakistan in the UAE.
"Clearly Adil has been with us for every squad but the pitches haven't quite suited two spinners. Adil will have to wait his chance but as a cricketer he's really improving and he feels a lot more comfortable in the England environment and he'll probably get his chance in Abu Dhabi."
There were words of encouragement, too, for opener Adam Lyth who has struggled during the series in making 86 runs at 12.28 but there was a hint that this was shaping as a defining Test for Lyth's short-term prospects.
"He hasn't scored the runs he would have liked, but he made a very good hundred against New Zealand which is where I thought you saw a lot of his talent," Cook said. "It's tough when your first seven games are against the bowlers he has faced, but he has to clear that out of his mind. He's an Ashes-winning player and he can be very proud of that.
"He's been a big part of the squad and he has to go out there over the next five days and score runs. He's a very good player who can succeed at international level."
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo