Jason Roy blows up as he leaves the field in the fourth Test.
Jason Roy blows up as he leaves the field in the fourth Test.

‘Gutted’ Pom reacts to Ashes axeing

Jason Roy has been dropped by England and Ben Stokes will play as a specialist batsman in the final Ashes Test against Australia at The Oval.

Stokes was limited to 10.5 overs at Old Trafford last week after injuring his right shoulder in Australia's first innings and will not bowl in south London from Thursday as England look to earn a 2-2 series draw.

Sam Curran has been drafted in as a fourth seam-bowling option to cover, meaning batsman Roy - who has scored only 110 runs in the series at an average of 13.75 with a top score of 31 - makes way, while Chris Woakes has also been recalled in place of fellow paceman Craig Overton.

"It's always tough to leave guys out but Stokesy picked up a shoulder injury in the last game," England captain Joe Root said.

"He won't be able to bowl the overs you'd normally expect him to and I think it would be a risk to take him into the game as a fourth seamer.

"He might be able to bowl a couple of overs here and there but his batting is, as this series has shown, a massive part of this side and he rightly deserves to be in the team as a top-four batter.

"With that we've had to change the balance of the side and Jason is the unfortunate one to miss out.

"Jason has had an opportunity to come in and play Test cricket and get a feel for it and it has not quite gone as he would have liked, but I'm sure he'll go away and work extremely hard and come back again.

"That's what you expect of guys when they get left out. I'm sure he'll have that attitude. He'll want to prove a point and get himself back into the side."

Roy himself was slightly less diplomatic about the axe falling on his head but knows he had no one to blame but himself.

"I'm gutted, to be honest," Roy wrote in his column for Sky Sports.

"I went to bed the night before day five in Manchester knowing that I had a lot to prove and wanting to do just that. I batted for an hour and a half, was feeling good and starting to think we would draw the Test so it was incredibly disappointing to get out.

"We have lost the chance to regain the Ashes but we showed so much fight on the last day at Old Trafford and we still have a chance to draw the series."

Jason Roy is bowled neck and crop by Josh Hazlewood.
Jason Roy is bowled neck and crop by Josh Hazlewood.

Roy, who has been so dominant in the limited over forms of the game has admitted to being all at sea in the Test arena, especially when opening the batting for England in first three Tests in the series.

"Batting in the middle-order I had more of an understanding of how I had to go about my innings. Opening I didn't quite know the right mindset to have, I'd not done it before in red-ball cricket.

"At No. 4 I could be a bit more open-minded and just play, even though in the second innings the plan was to bat all day and the amount of runs scored wasn't important, it was just balls faced. Even then, I was still in, in the first over.

"I'm the first to criticise myself and I know that I've got a lot of work to do.

"It doesn't matter whether you're opening the batting or batting lower down the order, you have to be a lot tighter.

"I still think I got out to good balls at Old Trafford, especially the one I got in second innings from Pat Cummins. There has been a lot of talk about my bat being a long way away from my pad but if the ball hadn't have seamed as much as it did it probably would have hit my bat so it is irrelevant where my front foot is."

Roy then went on to laud the Aussies as being among the world's best and in part used it as an excuse for England's first Ashes failure on home soil in 18 years.

"No one is shying away from the fact that the Australian team are incredible, players like Steve Smith and Cummins are at the top of the rankings for a reason," Roy said.

"People might say 'Jason Roy is useless' but what about the bowlers I am facing? I don't want to get too downhearted because I know that the bowlers we are facing at the moment are as good as any you will face in Test cricket."

Roy was joined in his disappointment at his own form by Root, who also felt he has not done his best with the bat throughout the series.

Joe Root’s form for England has also been a bit painful.
Joe Root’s form for England has also been a bit painful.

"No. It's been a tough year for batting on both sides. Of course, I've not performed as I would have liked but that's part and parcel of Test cricket.

"You've got to keep trying to find ways of counteracting difficult passages of play and good bowling. I'll keep trying to work on that and try to improve my game."

Out-going head coach Trevor Bayliss defended Root's captaincy on Wednesday, saying: "He's not come under question from anyone making any decisions. He's under no pressure at all."

This article originally appeared on Sky Sports and is republished with permission.