Ben Stokes ‘on course’ to bowl during the Ashes despite fears over his troublesome left knee after coming through 20-minute practice before final day of England’s win over Ireland
Ben Stokes insisted he was ‘on course’ to bowl in the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston after emerging unscathed from a 20-minute practice spell before the third and final day against Ireland at Lord’s.
The England captain had not bowled for four weeks in a bid to ease pressure on his troubled left knee, although there was concern when he hobbled slightly after catching Curtis Campher at short fine leg in Ireland’s second-innings 362. But Stokes, who turns 32 on Sunday, played down worries.
‘I was real happy with how I bowled for about 20 minutes, and got through that really well,’ he said after leading England to a 10-wicket win, their 11th in 13 Tests since he replaced Joe Root as captain.
‘I just landed awkwardly when I took that catch. I didn’t quite see it, so I had to adjust myself. I landed on my left leg and twisted it in a really strange way.
‘But it was fine. I’ll just keep building it up now before Edgbaston. I am definitely on course to bowl in the first Test.’
England captain Ben Stokes bowled for 20 minutes ahead of the third day of their Test against Ireland at Lord’s – raising hopes he’ll be able to play an all-round role in the Ashes later in June
Alastair Cook and David Saker watched as Stokes bowled on the Lord’s patch on Saturday
He caught Ireland’s Curtis Campher, avoiding becoming the first England captain since Harold Gilligan in 1929-30 to go through a Test match without batting, bowling or taking a catch
Had Stokes not caught Campher, he would have been the first England captain since Harold Gilligan at Auckland in 1929-30 to go through a Test match without batting, bowling or taking a catch. That’s one record that will have to wait.
Meanwhile, Stokes was full of praise for Worcestershire debutant Josh Tongue, who picked up five Irish wickets in the second innings on a surface that grew increasingly flat, and has inked himself in to the Ashes reckoning as a back-up quick to Mark Wood.
‘It was great to have someone like Tonguey come into the squad and have the pace he offers,’ said Stokes. ‘In his first spell, he pitched it up and used his pace, then we used him as aggressor when it got flat and we needed to create some chances.
‘For him to show he’s more than one type of bowler, it does us as a team a world of good going forward knowing we’ve got a guy with some extra pace.’