'Poor captaincy': Joe Root blamed over ugly Ben Stokes blow

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Pictured left is Joe Root alongside England teammate Ben Stokes.
Joe Root's short-ball tactics with Ben Stokes backfired after an injury to the allrounder on day two at the SCG. Pic: Getty

Joe Root has faced the wrath of England fans over an injury to Ben Stokes that had threatened to rule the allrounder out of the remainder of the Ashes series.

On another rain-affected opening session on day two of the fourth Ashes Test, Stokes was forced off the ground after once again being given the role as England's enforcer.

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Root has come under fire throughout the series after asking his allrounder to bowl short to Australia's batsmen in a tactic that has largely failed to pay dividends.

On Thursday, that tactic blew up in England's faces when Stokes was left holding his side in pain after pounding in a short ball to Aussie vice-captain Steve Smith.

Channel Seven commentator Greg Blewett labelled it a potential series-ending blow after Stokes immediately clutched at his side in pain.

The England allrounder was quickly whisked off the ground to receive treatment to add injury to insult for the hapless tourists.

Stokes was looking dangerous during a vicious spell of short bowling that had both Usman Khawaja and Smith in a spot of discomfort.

Khawaja reeled away after copping one of England star's short balls square in his shoulder.

A short time later though it was Stokes who was wincing in pain as he appeared to suffer a serious side strain.

The cruel blow left fans devastated for Stokes, with many pointing the finger of blame firmly in Root's direction.

Incredibly, Stokes returned to the field to take his place in slips shortly after lunch, with reports from the England camp that he would not be bowling again on Thursday.

Usman Khawaja dropped before lunch

Several rain delays halted play early on day two of the fourth Ashes Test at the SCG, where Australia resumed after ending day one on 3-125.

Smith and Khawaja started Thursday on six and four respectively, aiming to compile an imposing total as Australia pursue a 4-0 series lead after retaining the urn in Melbourne.

The pair remained unbeaten throughout the morning, however, England dropped the chance to remove Khawaja before lunch.

Smith notched his 33rd Test fifty just before the day's first break as the Aussies reached 3-209 at lunch.

Khawaja was struck on the gloves by a rearing delivery from Jimmy Anderson but otherwise there were few moments of discomfort for the batters in the morning session.

The day's first rain delay was brief, however, Thursday morning's opening session was punctuated by several stoppages, with more rain expected in the afternoon.

Wet weather meant only 46.5 overs of play was possible on Wednesday.

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