Ben Stokes will be evaluated overnight by England’s medical experts after suffering an injury on the second day of a chastening day 2 at the Gabba in Brisbane. The player who made his return to the cricketing field quite recently, has not had the best of returns so far. Cricket prediction is not in his favour at the moment either.
Stokes seemed to have suffered a knee injury when chasing a ball to the boundary in the 29th over, and he was plainly in pain for the remainder of the day. Earlier in the day, he had bowled three overs in his first session, which featured the wicket of David Warner off a no-ball. He bowled another two before lunch, but he had only put down four more overs for the rest of the day. He is yet to come out with the cricket bat for the second innings of the game.
What happened in the game so far, can England put up a challenge on day 4?
Although Ollie Robinson left the field during the final session and did not take the second new ball, England bowling coach Jon Lewis said he was not injured. Robinson had an excellent day, picking up three wickets, including two in two balls to claim Warner and Cameron Green, but left the field during the final session.
“Obviously Ben was injured on the field today, so he wasn’t able to bowl at full velocity at the conclusion of the day,” Lewis said. “I believe our medical personnel will examine him tonight and determine his condition. Apart from that, everything is OK with the men,” he stated.
Even though Australia only had to play 50 overs on the first day, the impact of the bad weather on England’s bowlers were seen during the last session of the first day.
According to Lewis, “Our preparation undoubtedly played a role in the previous session, but that’s how things are, and it’s the same for both sides. I’m certain that the lads will show up again tomorrow; they have a lot of character. I am aware that they’ve been in some fairly sticky circumstances in the past, and they’ve come out on the other side. I’m certain that the lads will clean themselves up tonight.”
By the end of the day, Joe Root was left with few choices. His issues were exacerbated by the fact that left-arm spinner Jack Leach was taken at over nine runs an over in what seemed to be a deliberate strategy by the Australian hitters to put him under strain. He took the wicket of Marnus Labuschagne, but he was unable to keep the scoring pace under control, as he was hit for five sixes in the process.
As Lewis noted, “It will likely not have been a very pleasant day for him, and he will want to push it to the back of his mind, but as I’ve spoken about the other guys, I know Jack to be a really tough bloke. There is no way we will be beaten for the time being. Expect Jack to come back with a vengeance tomorrow and demonstrate the strength of character I know he has.”
Will England try to save this match or do they have an outside chance of still winning it?
Skipper Joe Root and Dawid Malan are still going strong at the crease at present. England has just lost a couple of wickets so far, though they still trail by 58 runs. The current score is 220/2 but the injury to a key member of the batting outfit, Ben Stokes, could be a major concern for the Three Lions.
There are still a couple of days left in this Test match and both teams can look to win it. However, the visitors will have to bat through their skins now to get something out of this year. So far, they have done really well for themselves. Despite that, there is way too much cricket still left in this match for either team to be satisfied just yet.
It will be interesting to see how both teams play from here on and how the pitch behaves as well. These will be factors that could determine the eventual winner of the game and hand them an advantage in this five-match Ashes series.