Ashes 2021-22: Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes' fitness in doubt ahead of closing Test "need to make sure they are in a good place" - Joe Root on Bairstow and Stokes's injury

Ashes 2021-22: Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes’ fitness in doubt ahead of closing Test

Bairstow and Stokes suffered injuries in the previous Test at Sydney.

Ben Stokes celebrates with Jonny Bairstow. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

England’s in-form batters Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow have suffered injuries in the previous Test at Sydney leaving their places in a question mark. Stokes had to undergo a low-grade tear in his side and is unlikely to bowl in the fifth Test if he does make it to the playing XI. Bairstow had taken a blow in his thumb and his injury will also be assessed ahead of the Hobart Test as he had to battle through the pain.

Bairstow and Stokes were the biggest positives from the previous Test as the former scored the first century for England in the ongoing Ashes so far while the latter scored two half-centuries. Their mental strength to bat despite their injuries was immensely appreciated but a call is yet to be taken on their fitness for the fourth Test. England will already miss the services of Jos Buttler, who has been ruled out of the final Test with an injury.

We’ve to see what their bodies can handle: Joe Root

England skipper Joe Root mentioned the fitness playing a big part in Stokes and Bairstow’s selection for the Hobart Test. He explained the difference between being fit to play and fit to perform which could be crucial if England has to win for their pride in the fifth Test. Australia has already won the ongoing Ashes 3-0 but the excitement still remains in good tact for the final game.

“We’ve got to just see where they’re at, 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. 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,” said Joe Root as quoted by ESPNCricinfo.

England has roped in Sam Billings as the replacement for Buttler and he will be eager to make his debut in the longest format. They also have the options of Chris Woakes, Dan Lawrence, and Ollie Pope to replace Bairstow and Stokes.