Anderson back injury raises alarm for England

England's cricketers went some way to emulating their footballing counterparts yesterday, with unlikely and untimely injuries to three of their bowlers.

The paceman James Anderson has a suspected stress fracture of the back while his fellow fast bowler Simon Jones was forced to leave the field yesterday with more knee trouble. Anderson, in particular, is a major doubt for England's first Test against Sri Lanka at Lord's next week.

To add to England's woes, their one-day bowler Darren Gough was injured in a collision with an umpire.

Anderson, 23, has not featured for Lancashire since his return from England's tour of India. He is to see a specialist tomorrow, but it is thought he is likely to be out for several weeks.

The Lancashire coach, Mike Watkinson, said: "This is a huge blow for a player who has worked very hard and very long to get back into the one-day and Test match environment."

England will today discover the full extent of Jones' latest injury setback. He broke down during Glamorgan's C&G Trophy victory over Ireland in Cardiff yesterday with a twinge in his left knee.

Jones hopes to be fit for England's opening Test but the Glamorgan physio, Chris Towers, says Jones' left knee may need a precautionary scan. "We are liaising with the England medical team and will assess the position further after Simon has had a night's rest," Towers said.

Jones has already been withdrawn from Glamorgan's team for the Liverpool Victoria County Championship game against Derbyshire at Cardiff, which starts tomorrow.

Responding to Glamorgan's 250 for 9, Ireland were bowled out for 235 in 48.3 overs. Jones looked fit and strong in his opening spell when he picked up two wickets. He was also responsible for a run-out before the injury.

Gough suffered an injury yesterday in a freak incident during Essex's defeat by Hampshire at the Rose Bowl. The Essex physio, Mark Thomas, said: "Darren has a very mild strain of [one of his hamstrings]. He sustained the injury during his third over when the umpire put his arm up to halt his run-up, causing Darren to run into the umpire's arm - throwing him off balance in the process."

The England batsman Kevin Pietersen hit a fierce 98 to help Hampshire defeat Essex by eight runs. Shane Warne then took two wickets in two balls as the Essex challenge died.

Lancashire's Tom Smith enhanced his fast-growing reputation with another fine display of seam bowling to help condemn Worcestershire to a comprehensive defeat at New Road.

Ian Harvey's 112 led Gloucestershire to a 129-run victory at Taunton.

Kent collapsed to hand Surrey a one-run victory at Canterbury. Murray Goodwin stroked 88 not out to guide Sussex to a six-wicket win over Middlesex at Hove, and Sri Lanka wrapped up up a six-wicket win in the tour match against Derbyshire.

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