Ashes: fitness of Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow will be assessed

England Test captain Joe Root said on Wednesday that Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow’s fitness would be assessed ahead of the fifth and final Ashes Test. Stokes suffered a low grade tear in his side while bowling in Australia’s first innings of the fourth Ashes Test, while Bairstow suffered a thumb injury while batting off a Pat Cummins delivery.

“We just have to see where they are, see what their bodies can handle and then assess from there. I think they need to make sure they’re physically in a place where they Can reach five days of tough cricket, whatever Australia throws at them, and they are in a position where they can go out and play and, first of all, get through the game, but at the same time, Most importantly put in a performance as they also managed last week,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Root as saying.

“It’s okay to be fit to play but you have to be fit to perform and I think that’s what we have to do,” he said.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler has already returned home after sustaining a thumb injury in the fourth Ashes Test. Sam Billings has joined the squad and it remains to be seen whether his name is in the playing XI or not.

“When you’re on the margins, all you can do is try as hard as you can, and make sure you feel as prepared as you can. One thing about this tour and really these With all the tourism in the bubble environment, this post-Covid-19 world we currently live in, there aren’t always opportunities to go out and play and have game time,” Root said.

“But as players, you have to manage it as best you can. You have to feel like you’re preparing yourself, you’re putting yourself into practice as much as possible in those conditions. So when You get out there, you know, you’re as mentally prepared as you can be,” he added.


Australia have already sealed the Ashes by taking an unassailable 3-0 lead after the first four Tests.

The fifth and final Test will be a day-night Test and will be played in Hobart from Friday.

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