Ashes 2021-22: Players in prime form; Ben Stokes & Jonny Bairstow to be evaluated on fitness

Stokes and Bairstow suffered an injury in the Sydney Test, and their presence in the 5th test will be crucial for England.

Ben Stokes and Bairstow have suffered an injury in the Sydney Test; the duo will be provided as much time as they need to prove their fitness before the 5th test. The series is at 3-0 right now, with England escaping a loss in the 4th test. Stokes and Bairstow kept England alive in Sydney and are a vital asset for the team.

Stokes suffered a “low-grade tear” while bowling in the first innings, But despite the injury, he batted with all his heart to make two make crucial two half-centuries in the match. In the first innings during the magnificent century by Bairstow in Sydney, Bairstow suffered a severe blow on the thumb from Pat Cummins; still, he was able to make a well-fought 41 runs in the second innings to keep the match alive.

Root said in the post-match interview of the 4th Test that Stokes and Bairstow are in a position to play the match and go through the game, but it is more important that they go out there and perform as they did in the last week. He stated: 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.”

England already has to make one forced change after Jos Buttler flying back home due to a broken thumb. Sam Billings has joined the squad and has started working with England’s coach James Foster. With Rory Burns setting himself to return and Haseeb Hameed having just scored 80 runs in eight innings, England would be willing to make another change at the top of the squad.

If neither Stokes and nor Bairstow gets fit enough to perform, Ollie Pope, Chris Woakes, or Dan Lawrence will be offered the opportunity to replace them. Pope and Woakes were last seen playing in the Adelaide Test, and Lawrence hasn’t yet got a chance to play in this series and has zero experience playing in Australia.

Root carrying a positive attitude towards the players about to come in and replace Stokes and Bairstow, said, “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,” reported ESPNcricinfo.  He also said the bubble environment doesn’t give players enough opportunities to have match practise to get the players mentally prepared.

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