England v Pakistan: Day 5 - Third Test #RaiseTheBat Series
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 25: James Anderson (C) of England walks off with Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes after reaching 600 Test Match Wickets at close of play on Day Five of the 3rd #RaiseTheBat Test Match between England and Pakistan at the Ageas Bowl on August 25, 2020 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images for ECB)
England v Pakistan: Day 5 - Third Test #RaiseTheBat Series

England star opening bowler James Anderson will miss the first Test of the Ashes with a calf injury.

A stalwart of the England attack, the 39-year-old has taken more than 600 wickets during a glittering career, having also played in 18 Tests in Australia during his career.

It's understood Anderson is likely to be fit for the second Test, but with the first Test often proving critical to the Ashes, Anderson's absence will impact England enormously as they attempt to control Australia's batting line-up, featuring the in-form David Warner, and top order options Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith, who both average north of 60 in Test cricket.

According to George Dobell for The Cricketer, Anderson was going to be included in England's XI for the Gabba before the calf injury, which was sustained in training.

England refused to name their XI for the first Test when given the opportunity earlier this week, taking a different path to Australia who confirmed Mitchell Starc and Travis Head would start ahead of Jhye Richardson and Usman Khawaja in their XI respectively.

It's understood Mark Wood and Chris Woakes will almost certainly be included in the XI for England, which leaves just two bowling spots to be contested by Ollie Robinson, Stuart Broad and spinner Jack Leach.

Stuart Broad during day three of the tour match between South Africa A and England at City Oval on December 22, 2015 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

Robinson is set to have the inside running on the third quick spot, meaning Broad will only play if England elects to go without a spinner.

Pictures emerging of the pitch however would suggest that is a strong chance of happening, with a strong coverage of grass on the pitch less than 48 hours out from the first ball.

Broad has generally struggled in Ashes cricket taking 118 wickets at 29.35, almost one and a half runs higher than his career average of 27.84 - however, his average in Australia is 37.17 with just 34 wickets in 12 matches, meaning England could well opt to stray away from the veteran with more than 500 Test wickets and take a completely fresh attack into the contest.