Stuart Broad has been ruled out of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo after being diagnosed with a right calf strain. He will return to the UK immediately and the injury could prevent him from joining the IPL for the second year running.
Broad was clearly limping during England's failed second-innings run chase in Galle and was also increasingly hampered when bowling as the match progressed. He was sent for scans shortly after the match.
He entered the Test under a slight cloud having injured his left ankle when tripping over the boundary rope before the first warm-up match in Colombo but, after playing the second practice match, was declared fit for the Test.
It was not Broad's best game of recent times. He bowled eight no-balls one of which cost England the wicket of Prasanna Jayawardene which would have ended Sri Lanka's second innings with a lead of 293. He was also warned for running on the pitch and did not appear to be in rhythm although he removed Tillakaratne Dilshan in both innings.
England have opted not to replace Broad in the squad which could limit options if another fast bowler gets injured or sick before the Test starts. Steven Finn will be the favourite to come in following his impressive displays in the one-day series against India and Pakistan where he bowled with pace and accuracy.
The other alternative is Tim Bresnan, the Yorkshire allrounder, and he would compensate for the loss of Broad's batting. However, with England needing to win the Test to square the series and retain their No. 1 ranking they will have to pick the bowling line-up most likely to take 20 wickets.
It could be that both Bresnan and Finn will be called in if England decide they need an extra pace-bowling option. Bresnan could bat at No. 7 in place of Samit Patel and that would still leave plenty of spin bowling in the shape of Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar.
This injury is the latest Broad has suffered over the last 18 months. He was ruled out of the last three Ashes Tests in Australia after suffering a stomach muscle injury in Adelaide and then picked up a fractured rib during the World Cup. During the home one-day series against India he damaged his shoulder which ruled him out of the rest of the summer and the return contest in India. He returned to action in the UAE against Pakistan and was outstanding during the Test series where he took 13 wickets at 20.46.
Broad was due to join Kings XI Punjab at the IPL straight after this tour but he could now miss the tournament altogether if the England management take a cautious approach with one of their premier fast bowlers ahead of another hectic home season which includes six Tests, 13 ODIs and four Twenty20s for which Broad is captain.