Ashes 2019: Harris points finger at Anderson over fitness call

Former Australia quick Ryan Harris says Joe Root was "doomed" from the start of the first Test with James Anderson unable to bowl.

James Anderson was passed fit to play in Birmingham after missing the one-off Test against Ireland, but he could play only four overs.   -  Getty Images

Ryan Harris believes James Anderson ought to shoulder a big share of the blame for England's defeat in the Ashes opener at Edgbaston.

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Anderson apologised to his team-mates after suffering a recurrence of a calf injury on day one of the series against Australia last Thursday.

England's leading Test wicket-taker was only able to bowl four overs as Australia recovered from a poor start to win by 251 runs.

Anderson was passed fit to play in Birmingham after missing the one-off Test against Ireland due to a calf injury he sustained playing for Lancashire last month.

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The 37-year-old will miss the second Test at Lord's and former Australia paceman Harris has questioned how he came to be selected for the start of the battle for the urn.

He told Omnisport: "All in all, it's easy to question Joe Root's captaincy but I'd put a bit of pressure on Jimmy Anderson, saying he was fit for the match and getting through only four overs.

"I know injury is injury, but to come off an injury and say you are 100 per cent fit for an Ashes Test match is a big call.

"Bowling in the nets to bowling in the intensity of a Test, let alone an Ashes Test, is very different. To break down after four overs, you could cop it after 20-odd overs, but after four overs puts a lot of pressure on your bowling unit.

"From the start Joe Root was sort of doomed, all Australia had to do — although they didn't in the first innings — was to grind the bowlers down as they knew they were a bowler down.

"They did that in the second innings. It doesn't help when your experienced, leading strike bowler does that."