During the England-Ireland Test at Lord’s, there was a moment of concern when Ben Stokes appeared to suffer an injury on Day 3. While fielding at short fine leg, the England captain landed awkwardly on his left knee after taking a catch. Despite the discomfort, Stokes continued to play on. After the match, he allayed any worries, stating that there was nothing serious to be concerned about. Stokes mentioned that he had bowled in the morning before the third day’s play and was pleased with his fitness.
When asked about the incident, Stokes explained, “I didn’t pick up the ball properly, and I landed quite awkwardly on my left knee. The weight went on the inside of the knee, similar to hyperextending it. However, I bowled this morning, which was the first time since returning from India, around four weeks ago. I got through that session well, so there’s nothing to worry about.” He further expressed satisfaction with his bowling performance and his progress in terms of fitness. Although he landed awkwardly while taking the catch, he remained positive about his condition. Stokes humorously added, “I am turning 32 tomorrow, so that probably explains it.”
England claimed a comfortable victory in the one-off Test against Ireland, although they had to bat for a second time as Ireland showed resilience with the bat in the second innings. Stokes praised the visiting team for their determination and acknowledged that the pitch became flatter as the match progressed. He believed this experience provided valuable insights into what England can expect and what adjustments they need to make for the upcoming Ashes series against Australia.
“Ireland showed grit and determination. It gave us a glimpse of what we might face against Australia. The pitch flattened out as the game went on. Our approach to taking the game forward allowed us to potentially dismiss Ireland without batting again. Ireland had to put up a good score to challenge us. It was a good test, and credit to Ireland,” remarked Stokes.
Speaking about Josh Tongue, who impressed with a five-wicket haul on his debut, Stokes discussed the role he envisioned for the young pacer in the team. Stokes commended Tongue’s versatility, as he bowled well with a fuller length initially and then utilized his pace as an aggressor when needed, especially when the pitch became less conducive for bowling. Stokes expressed his satisfaction with Tongue’s adaptability and willingness to follow the plans set by the team.
“I explained to him the role I saw him playing as our third seamer and used him to deliver different types of spells. In his first spell, he bowled exceptionally well with a fuller length. Then, when the situation demanded it, we used his pace to be the aggressor, especially when the wicket became flat,” Stokes explained. “It’s great for us as a team to know that he can be more than one type of bowler. It gives us options in terms of fulfilling the roles of our fast bowlers. Although I was unsure about managing him early on after he bowled a long spell yesterday and two long spells today, I was extremely impressed with his willingness to execute the plans we had discussed.”