Hobart: England Test skipper Joe Root on Wednesday said that the fitness of Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow would be assessed ahead of the fifth and final Ashes Test. Stokes had suffered a low grade tear in his side while bowling in Australia’s first innings of the fourth Ashes Test while Bairstow suffered a blow to the thumb while batting to a Pat Cummins delivery.
“We’ve got to just see where they’re, see what their bodies can handle and then assess from there. I think they need to make sure they feel like they’re physically in a place where they can get through five days of hard cricket, whatever Australia throw at them, and they’re in a position where they can go out and play and firstly, get through the game, but also, most importantly put in a performance as they managed to last week as well,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Root as saying.
“It’s alright being fit to play but you’ve got to be fit to perform and I think that’s what we’ve got to work out,” he added. Wicket keeper-batter Jos Buttler has already returned home after suffering a broken thumb in the fourth Ashes Test. Sam Billings has joined the squad and it would be required to see whether he is named in the playing XI.
“All you can do when you’re on the fringes, is work as hard as you can and make sure you feel as ready as you can. One thing about this tour and all tours really in these bubble environments, this COVID-19 world that we are currently living in, is there’s not always opportunities to go out and play and to have game time,” said Root. “But as players, you’ve just got to manage that as best as you can.
You’ve got to feel like you’re readying yourself, you’re putting yourself in those situations in practice as best as possible. So when you do get out there, you know, you’re as mentally ready as you possibly can be,” he added.
Australia has already sealed the Ashes after gaining an unassailable 3-0 lead after the first four Tests. The fifth and final Test will be a day-night Test content and it would be played in Hobart, beginning Friday.