Ben Stokes back in England team for third Test against India

Ben Stokes will start the third Test for England against India at Trent Bridge on Saturday just four days after being cleared of affray.

Return: Ben Stokes arrives at Bristol Crown Court, where he was cleared of affray charges.

Return: Ben Stokes arrives at Bristol Crown Court, where he was cleared of affray charges.

England captain Joe Root confirmed on Friday the all-rounder would be back in the starting 11 at the expense of the unfortunate Sam Curran, who was man of the match in the opening Test at Edgbaston.

"It was one of the most difficult decisions I've had to make as captain. It's about us as a squad delivering over five games and on this occasion Sam is unfortunate to miss out," Root said.

"Ben is desperate to get back playing cricket. He's desperate to get out there, put in performances and concentrate on his cricket now. He feels ready to play.

"I have known Ben from being really quite young and I feel very confident he will be able to go out and put in a performance."

Stokes' return for the third Test, with England leading 2-0, was always going to be a difficult call for Root with two other all-rounders in the squad playing so well.

After the second Test win, Root had described the selection dilemma as a "great headache" for him but Stokes has been welcomed back into the team's ranks after his acquittal in the high-profile case.

Stokes had played a big part in providing a winning start with his six wickets, including the prize one of Virat Kohli, in the tight opening Test at Edgbaston.

Yet in his absence due to the court hearing, England were much more dominant in their second Test innings victory at Lord's with Chris Woakes, the replacement for Stokes, man of the match for his century and four wickets.

Curran had won the same award in the Edgbaston contest for his crucial half-century and five wickets, making it difficult for either to be dropped but it was the 20-year-old Surrey prospect who misses out.

"What Sam has done so far has been nothing short of high class," Root said.

Woakes is retained after his magnificent effort as is batsman Ollie Pope who made a decent debut with his 28 at Lord's.

The 27-year-old Stokes is plunged straight back into the spotlight after an 11-month saga ended when he was found not guilty of affray following the late-night street brawl in Bristol last September after England had won a one day international against West Indies.


Source: Read Full Article