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England to make late decision on Ben Stokes

England to make late decision on Ben Stokes
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London (UNN): According to the ECB, The all-rounder ran at “full intensity”, and batted in the nets on Thursday but will undergo a scan on his hamstring to discover the extent of the injury.

Captain Joe Root refused to rule out the possibility of Stokes playing as a specialist batsman, as he did in the first Test against New Zealand in March, but insisted no decisions have yet been made on who might be in line to replace him as England target a series-levelling win.

“Until we know how serious an injury it is, it’s hard to really make decisions and because of that we can’t name a team today,” Root said. “Of course, if Ben is fit then we want him in the side, he’s one of our best players, who brings a lot to the table and he offers so much to this team.

“We’ve got to see how serious the injury is and then we can start making decisions on selection. I think it would be wrong to starting picking a team and then work back from there.

“We’ve got to be really realistic about how fit Ben is, speak to the medical staff. See what the situation is and then make a decision. We want our best team on the field, Ben offers so much with the bat and [playing Stokes as specialist batsman] is definitely an option.”

While Chris Woakes and Sam Curran must wait to discover and if they will be required to replace Stokes, one guaranteed change sees the return of Keaton Jennings at the top of the order, who comes in for Mark Stoneman.

“For Keaton, it is a great opportunity,” Root added. “I hope he looks at it that way and goes out and expresses himself in his own way and plays and delivers as he has done at the start of this season.”

Jennings comes in to a side that Root admitted were well short of their best in the nine-wicket defeat at Lord’s but the captain is backing his team to respond in a positive manner.

“I look at that dressing room and there is so much talent in there, so many times individuals have stood up and put match-winning performances in and this is another opportunity to do that,” he said.

“It’s pretty obvious where we were below par last week and it just about going out there and tightening up on a few areas as a team. If we do that then we’ll put in a really good performance.”

Pakistan, aiming for their first Test series win in England since 1996, make one change to the side that won so convincingly at Lord’s, captain Sarfraz Ahmed confirmed, with Usman Salahuddin replacing the injured Babar Azam.

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