Ben Stokes is being closely assessed ahead of a decision on his fitness for the fifth Ashes Test.

Captain Joe Root says the Cumbrian all-rounder, who has a side strain, could still play at Hobart as a specialist batsman.

Stokes and Jonny Bairstow (thumb) are fitness concerns ahead of the final Test which starts on Friday.

Root said: “We have to assess how they pull up over the next couple of days. Certainly you can pick Ben as a bat, Jonny too.

“We have to see where they are at, what their bodies can handle,” he said.

“You have to trust the medical advice. Those guys work tirelessly to make sure we are in the best possible position to go and win games and sometimes that is making some difficult calls.

“We need to make sure they are physically in a place where they can get through five days of hard cricket.

"It’s alright being fit to play but you’ve got to be fit to perform and that’s what we’ve got to work out.”