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Stokes out of Third Test against Pakistan

Ben-Stokes

BIRMINGHAM: England all-rounder Ben Stokes has been ruled out of next week’s third Test against Pakistan at Edgbaston with a torn right calf, the England and Wales Cricket Board said on Wednesday.

Durham paceman Stokes suffered the injury midway through bowling his sixth over on the fourth day of the second Test at Old Trafford on Monday, when England completed a 330-run win to level the four-match series at 1-1.

A scan revealed the extent of Stokes’s injury and the 25-year-old’s fitness will be reviewed by the England medical team next week, with the squad assembling in Birmingham on Monday.

In addition to the remaining 10 fit players who featured at Old Trafford, England have selected Nottinghamshire paceman Jake Ball, who made his Test debut in a 75-run defeat by Pakistan in the series opener at Lord’s.

Also in a 13-man squad are Middlesex fast bowler Steven Finn, who also played in the first Test, and Yorkshire leg-spinner Adil Rashid.

Doing without Stokes is something England have got used to in a season where he has started only two out of five Tests and has not finished one.

A left knee injury cut short Stokes’s participation in the first Test against Sri Lanka in May and left him needing surgery which saw him miss the final two Tests of that series, as well as the subsequent one-dayers and lone Twenty20.

But in Stokes’s absence, Chris Woakes — also a pace-bowling all-rounder — has seized his chance to revive a stuttering Test career and next week will see him involved at his Warwickshire home ground.

In five Tests this season, against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, Woakes averages 42 with the bat and under 19 with the ball — exemplary figures for an international all-rounder.

England coach Trevor Bayliss, speaking before it was confirmed Stokes would not play in the third Test, said: “If he does miss out, it will give someone else an opportunity.

“Yes, he’s a big player for us — he adds a lot of spark to the team. He bats, bowls and he’s a leader in the field.”

The Australian added: “But Woakes has done brilliantly so far this season, so we are lucky in that aspect.”

The third Test starts on Wednesday, August 3.

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