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Smith’s absence can swing Ashes: Root

By AAP Newswire

Joe Root has called on England to take advantage of Steve Smith's concussion-enforced absence from the third Ashes Test, while crossing his fingers Jason Roy does not miss out for the same reason.

Australia's hopes of improving their position in the series, 1-0 up after a big win at Edgbaston and last week's Lord's draw, took a hit when their best player was ruled out of the Headingley clash starting on Thursday.

Root knows how it feels to be denied a star performer, having lost record wicket-taker James Anderson to a calf injury on the first morning of the first Test, and realises the opportunity Jofra Archer's brutal bouncer has created.

"They will be huge shoes to fill," Root said.

"It's very unfortunate on their part but we had the challenge of Jimmy going down four overs into a Test match and had to manage that without a replacement.

"You get these swings within a big series like this every now and again and when you get your opportunity you've got to jump on it."

England had an unexpected worry of their own when Roy was struck in the nets on Tuesday, ducking into a throwdown from Marcus Trescothick, who has been working with the team as a batting consultant.

Roy was struck on the shock-absorbing stem guard - an optional add-on to the helmet which Smith does not wear - and was cleared to continue his session.

The left-hander passed another concussion test and batted on the eve of the game but England team protocols require him to be assessed again on the morning of the match before being passed fit.

As such England have called for his Surrey teammate Ollie Pope, fresh from a knock of 221 not out against Hampshire, to join the squad on standby.

"Jason's been monitored quite closely, as you'd expect. But as it stands I fully expect him to be fit and ready to go," Root said.

"He has cleared all of the tests absolutely fine until now but there is a period where you have got to be extra cautious.

"This is a huge series and it means so much to all our players, but it doesn't mean that much in terms of someone getting seriously hurt and potentially ruining the rest of their life."

Root added Archer, key to England's hopes of levelling the series, was handling the immense hype that followed his memorable debut.

"He sets up his (video game) Fortnite at the hotel and plays. He's just a very relaxed character, unfazed by anything," Root said.