LONDON: Ben Stokes, one of England’s heroes at Edgbaston, will now miss the second Test against India as he gets ready for his trial for affray.
Stokes swung the first Test England’s way with a four-wicket burst in the final innings but had to be left out of the England squad for the second Test, at Lord’s from 9 August, with Chris Woakes filling in. The hearing in the case for the incident in the Bristol nightclub in September 2017 will start at Bristol Crown Court on Monday, 6 August, and could go on for a week.
Even if Stokes, who knew he would miss the second Test, had the trial on his mind on the fourth day of the first Test, he didn’t let it affect his game as he got one to beat Virat Kohli’s flick and hit the pads. Kohli had to walk back for 51, and that was pretty much the end of India’s resistance as England won by 31 runs.
Stokes, who had earlier sent back KL Rahul, added the scalps of Mohammed Shami and Hardik Pandya to finish with 4/40.
“It’s great to be a part of this game, but I don’t know … I don’t know what to be feeling right now,” Stokes told Sky Sports after the match.
Speaking about the Kohli wicket – it was the big one after the India captain had scored 149 in the first innings – Stokes said, “Throughout the whole innings … Kohli played a brilliant knock in the first innings, but with the ball swinging, he was trying to move across to play for that in-swinger, but actually, it was the one that I was trying to swing away … he may be leaned over and missed one for a change.
“Moments like that change the game in these tight ones.”
Stokes, looking pensive, stressed on how much he wanted to be a part of the England team. “I’m proud to be part of this group, playing for England means so much, and it’s a great start to this tough five-match series. Being 1-0 up we’re in the box seat at the moment,” he said.
“Winning those tight games, you can’t underestimate what it gives teams for confidence. We’ve got a five-Test match series here, so we’ll take all the confidence we can. There’s no better way to start it off than that.”