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Stokes, Bairstow’s racing clock will be ready for Ashes: Root finale




All-star duo Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow make no guarantees of backing England in the final test in what could be a hammer blow to Joe Root’s chances of saving some of the Ashes pride.

Root said on Wednesday that England’s top two players in the drawn fourth test were still under a cloud of injuries after a bruising time in the middle of the SCG.

England medics will keep an eye on the duo as they count down to Friday night at Hobart’s Blundstone Arena as tourists look to avoid losing the series 4-0 following a morale draw at Sydney during which they avoided defeat by a wicket of their best representation of the tour.

Root said no decision had been made on whether Stokes (side strain) or Bairstow (thumb) would be fit, but said he would have no qualms if they both played as a than specialist hitters. Stokes are unlikely to be able to bowling while Bairstow is a possible candidate to replace Jos Buttler as goalkeeper after returning to England with a hand injury.

Stokes and Bairstow are eager to play, but Root said the England side will give the final say to their medical staff. Stokes hit half a century in each inning while Bairstow hit an emotional ton, which he hit on the final day of day three.

The pair were also involved in a slang match with an abusive fan as they made their way to the English dressing room during their first 128-innings partnership.

“They have to make sure they physically feel in a place where they can spend five days of tough cricket no matter what Australia throws at them,” he said.

“In a position where they can go out and play and finish the game first, but also and most importantly achieve a performance that they also managed to do last week.

“It’s good to be fit to play, but you have to be fit to play and that’s what we have to work on.”

Sam Billings was added to the squad after playing for the Sydney Thunder in the BBL and the goalkeeper-batter is a chance to make his test debut, which would make him the 700th Englishman in history to win the honor. .

“As always when he is around the group, he brings a lot of energy, always smiling. He loves his cricket, he’s a great guy to have around the environment and I’m sure if he has his chance he will go out of his way for his opportunity.

“It’s good to have him here and he’s going to want to get stuck for the next few days in training to show us what he’s got.”

Ollie Pope is also up for a recall and he could also be given the guard gloves back after substituting for the second round in Sydney.

Root said he was proud of his team’s resilience in the fourth test after they had to deal with a COVID outbreak among their support staff – including coach Chris Silverwood – as well as injuries and the roadblock of criticism they suffered from home and on board on the back of three straight beatings.

Veteran duo Stuart Broad and James Anderson blocked the final round to avoid defeat after opener Zak Crawley, Bairstow, Stokes and tailender Jack Leach earlier resisted the Australian attack.

“If you look at the week we had, the number of different things that were thrown against the group of players, whether it was COVID before the game, a few injuries that we had to deal with throughout the game as well, I Je think it shows a lot where we are as a team at the end of three very difficult games where we underperformed, now showing the best of our skills and performance as a team, ”he said. -he declares.

“Coming back and getting something out of this game showed a great amount of character, something that we can definitely build on to move forward, whether it’s this game or beyond.

“There was an element of relief in getting through those last overs in particular, the desire to fight, the pride that everyone showed on that last day in particular is something we have to tap into.

“And we have to play with it more frequently throughout the five days, not just the last day when everything is on the line to try to get something out of the game. But also from the first ball.

“We have proven to ourselves that we can do it now – can we do more? Can we do it in a winning state rather than just trying to save a test match? That’s what we have to lean on, that’s what we have to get out of this last game until this one.

Root said it had been important to give players a chance over the past two days to ‘kick back, get away from cricket and relax, making sure they’re mentally fresh’.

After doing tons back-to-back on their Test return after a two-year hiatus, Australia are questioning whether they will keep Usman Khawaja ahead of opener Marcus Harris or middle-order specialist Travis Head.

Root expects Khawaja to repay himself in Tasmania.

“I was surprised that he didn’t start the series personally, I think he’s a wonderful player,” he said.

“I also think he’s at a time in his career where he’s very happy with his game and he has a good understanding of how he wants to play. We have some work to do to make sure we keep him quiet in this final game.

“It was a phenomenal effort, which he managed to achieve. The past week has been really great. We have to make sure we silence him as best we can here in Tasmania. “

Hobart reminds Root of his home, but said that whatever the conditions on match day, they need to adjust better than their previous four starts on tour.

“We have to make sure that we apply faster and better than we did on this tour,” he said.

“I think Australia have done this four times now where they have used the conditions and read them better than us and this is an opportunity for us to turn the tide this week.”




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