England relief as Roy clears concussion test
Under-fire opener was hit in the neck at training but has escaped the fate that kept Steve Smith sidelined
Sam Ferris at Headingley
21 August 2019, 09:31 PM AEST
England have avoided their own concussion drama with opening batter Jason Roy cleared to play in the third Test after being struck in the nets at training on Tuesday.
However, England later put Surrey batsman Ollie Pope on standby, pulling him out of the county's ongoing first-class match with Hampshire at The Oval in south London to rush him to Leeds ahead of Thursday's third Test.
Pope was pulled from the Division One match after hitting an unbeaten 221 against Hampshire in an innings that lasted seven hours. Surrey declared on 7-579 when the call came through.
Roy was hit in the back of the neck by assistant coach Marcus Trescothick, who was using a modified ball thrower at Headingley and was immediately checked by the team's doctor.
Roy's knock comes in the wake of Australia's star batter Steve Smith being struck by a Jofra Archer bouncer in the Lord's Test which has led the right-hander being ruled out of the third Test.
Smith suffered delayed concussion and was subbed out of the match for Marnus Labuschagne the following morning, and the Queenslander made a valuable 59 to ensure the match was drawn and Australia preserved their 1-0 series lead.
Unlike Smith, who was hit flush on the back of the neck by a fierce Archer bouncer, Roy was struck on a protective stem guard, a removable attachment that clips on underneath the bottom of a batter's helmet.
Stem guards have not been made mandatory protective equipment by the ICC but all indications suggest they will be in the near future.
Roy was not the only player to be hit on Tuesday, with Labuschagne collecting a brutal bouncer in the grille from left-armer Mitch Starc.
Labuschagne was immediately attended to by team doctor Richard Saw and, after a quick check, batted on.
The Queenslander is expected to continue to fill Smith's shoes while Roy is set to play his third Ashes Test despite a lean run of form to start the series.
Roy has scored 40 runs in four innings this series and a move down the order, where he bats at first-class level for Surrey, could be in play according to England coach Trevor Bayliss.
"Personally, I think he probably is suited to the middle order but we've selected him in the top of the order because of his form and experience in the one-day team playing international cricket," Bayliss said.
"At the start of his one-day career, he missed out a few times as well and it took him a little while to get the hang of it.
"So the possibility of him playing again at the top of the order doesn't really concern us. We know what he can do when he does play well."
2019 Qantas Ashes Tour of England
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.
England squad: Joe Root (c), Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes (vc), Chris Woakes.
First Test: Australia beat England by 251 runs at Edgbaston
Second Test: Match drawn at Lord's
Third Test: August 22-26, Headingley
Tour match: Australians v Derbyshire, August 29-31
Fourth Test: September 4-8, Old Trafford
Fifth Test: September 12-16, The Oval