Fears grow in­jured Stokes may not bowl again in se­ries

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Fourth Specsavers Ashes Test - By Is­abelle West­bury at Old Traf­ford

Eng­land fear Ben Stokes may not bowl again in this Ashes se­ries af­ter their tal­is­manic all-rounder suf­fered an in­jury scare here yes­ter­day.

Stokes was un­able to com­plete three overs on day two of the fourth Test. He left the field part way through his third, winc­ing, and with soreness in his right shoulder.

Hav­ing been hit for 30 runs off 17 balls, he re­turned to the field a few overs later but did

not bowl again as Aus­tralia amassed 497 runs.

Stokes’s sud­den with­drawal has prompted con­cerns that he might not bowl again in the se­ries as the fitness of the hosts’ front­line bowlers con­tin­ues to cause prob­lems. James An­der­son has al­ready with­drawn from the se­ries, hav­ing bowled just four overs in the first Test.

“As far as I’m con­cerned, if it was very se­ri­ous he wouldn’t have re­taken the field,” Jonny Bairstow said at the close of play. “We know what a char­ac­ter Ben is, how strong he is men­tally and phys­i­cally. I’m sure it’ll be as­sessed overnight but, as of this mo­ment, I gen­uinely don’t know [how bad it is].”

In the third Test, be­fore Stokes’s Her­culean cen­tury, the Durham all­rounder bowled more than 24 overs in Aus­tralia’s se­cond in­nings. All but two of these were bowled con­sec­u­tively and, in to­tal, he de­liv­ered eight more than any other Eng­land bowler.

Stokes’s in­jury fol­lows a warning by Shane Warne this sum­mer that he was at risk of burnout. Be­fore the World Cup, the for­mer Aus­tralian spin­ner ad­vised that Stokes should be used as a bats­man first and bowler only se­cond.

“If I was in charge of Eng­land, I would bat him as high up the order as pos­si­ble to give him as much time at the crease as pos­si­ble,” said Warne. “He could then bat like a bats­man. But do not rely on him for 10 overs [of bowl­ing]. I would say just take wick­ets, bowl in short bursts and don’t worry about con­ced­ing runs.”

With Stokes po­ten­tially out of Eng­land’s attack, and Steve Smith on the back of a dou­ble-cen­tury in the first in­nings, Eng­land start the third day 474 runs be­hind with nine wick­ets re­main­ing.

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