Ashes 2021-22: Ben Stokes in doubt for series finale

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Ashes 2021-22: Ben Stokes in doubt for series finale

After sustaining an injury to his left side on the second day of play at the SCG, Ben Stokes is unlikely to bowl again in the ongoing fourth Test and might be a question for next week’s Ashes 2021-22 series decider in Hobart. On Thursday, he only got through five balls of his fourth over before exiting the field holding his side, and Mark Wood bowled the over’s last ball.

For the time being, England’s management has decided against sending Stokes for a scan, and given that he returned to the field shortly after his evaluation, he would be free to bat at No. 5 if he is fit. Moreover, he spent most of his time fielding in the slip cordon.

In the absence of Stokes, England’s seam load was shared by James Anderson, Wood, and Stuart Broad, who stood out with 5-for-101 figures.

“He’s one of the toughest blokes I’ve ever met, the toughest cricketer I’ve ever met,” Broad said at the close. “For him to go off and not bowl… it’s obviously sore. But he’s icing it at the moment. We’ve no information on what’s happened on his side.
“Hopefully we give him a lot of rest tomorrow. Twelve-24 hours in cricket is quite a long time. It gives the body a lot of time to heal. We’ll wait and see. He stayed on the field so he could bat in his usual position. He’s a tough character. He’ll be out there if it’s not torn to shreds. We as England fans and teammates hope it’s not as bad as him not bowling again on this trip.”

Stokes, who returned to the Ashes 2021-22 after taking a long hiatus during the English season to deal with his mental health following a broken finger, has failed to have an impression on the series so far, scoring 101 runs at 16.83 and taking four wickets at 71.50 in the first three-and-a-half Tests. With the bat, though, Joe Root has repeatedly employed him as an enforcer, entrusted with delivering long stints of short-pitched bowling.

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