England’s Ashes tour has suffered yet another disruption with fast-bowler Jake Ball spraining his right ankle in the warm-up match against Cricket Australia XI in Adelaide.
Ball was in his fourth over when he collapsed during his delivery stride, his ankle seemingly buckling as it hit the ground. He received treatment from England’s physio but he was, at least, able to walk off the field unaided and a sprain of the ankle was diagnosed. He will be assessed over the next 24 hours but will take no further part in the second day’s play in Adelaide.
It is a further blow for England’s fast-bowling stocks. Steven Finn was ruled out of the tour earlier this week after suffering torn cartilage in his left knee. Toby Roland-Jones and Mark Wood had not been considered for the tour because of injury and it is not yet known whether Ben Stokes will play any part in Australia following the incident in Bristol which led to his arrest on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm.
Ball had been in pole position to complete England’s expected four-pronged seam attack for the first Test. He was the pick of the tourists’ bowlers in their first warm-up game in Perth, finishing with 1-31 from 12 overs, and had started nicely in Adelaide. He had already picked up the wicket of Ryan Gibson, caught at third slip by Dawid Malan, and had conceded just five runs in 3.4 overs.
England have called-up Surrey’s Tom Curran to replace Finn – he is expected to join up with the squad on Friday (November 10) – and may be required to further bolster their squad should Ball’s injury necessitate a longer period of recovery than the initial 24-hour assessment. Liam Plunkett, currently playing in the Bangladesh Premier League, is a contender for a call-up should that be necessary.