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England's James Anderson gestures during a net training session at the Gabba in Brisbane on December 6, 2021, ahead of the opening Ashes Test cricket match against Australia. Image Credit: AFP

Melbourne: England have been dealt a blow on the eve of the first Ashes test with paceman James Anderson ruled out of the match in Brisbane with a calf strain, cricket website The Cricketer reported on Tuesday.

Anderson, who trained on Monday, was expected to play in the Ashes opener at the Gabba on Wednesday, but will instead be replaced by all-rounder Chris Woakes, the report said.

The England team were unable to provide immediate comment.

Holders Australia are looking to retain the urn for a second successive series, two years after the 2-2 draw in England.