Ben Stokes injury: England’s all-rounder will be assessed after worrying knee issue in Ashes’ first test
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England are even more concerned about the fatigue of their undercooked attack in the final session, after a disrupted preparation. Ollie Robinson, who was exceptional, left the field sore, while Stokes was assessed for a knee injury that limited him to just nine overs that were grazed for 50 runs and clearly delivered in some pain.
That, and Australia’s calculated assault on Jack Leach, whose 10 overs cost 80 points, forced Robinson, Mark Wood and Chris Woakes to throw 58 overs between them. All three behaved honorably.
“It’s always difficult when a crimper breaks down, especially under these conditions,” said Robinson. “He [Stokes] has something we don’t all have – he’s got that pace and that bounce so it hurts a little bit but the other boys took over and I thought it was a good effort at the end.
“My body is fine. I went out for some straps and maintenance, but I’m going to rest tonight and come back tomorrow.”
As always, Stokes had been at the heart of the action. With his fourth ball of the day and Australia already at one point, Stokes beat Warner, only to learn he had overshot. In fact, Stokes had topped the previous three deliveries and a total of 14 times in five overs before lunch – but only one of them was called up to the field.
It soon became clear that the technology for the third referee to call non-balls was down, meaning standing referees were trying – and largely failing – to keep an eye on the front line.
England bowling coach Jon Lewis found it frustrating that Stokes was not alerted to his pass before the wicket ball.
“What a fast bowler needs is some sort of understanding of where their feet are because obviously you can’t see your own feet,” he said. “So if the umpires are watching the line, then after the first ball – it’s Ben’s first ball on that court.”
“So he’ll need some feedback from the referees to figure out where his feet are and then make an adjustment. If you don’t know where your feet are, it’s very difficult to make an adjustment. So that would have been good for the He. could have made an adjustment from then on, he would have been behind the line because he knows where his feet are.
Stokes’ misstep wasn’t the only life England gave to Warner, who was ultimately fired by Robinson for 94 (and saw him share 156 with Marnus Labuschagne). Rory Burns’ scorching test continued with a nasty fall on the second slide after lunch, while Haseeb Hameed missed a 60 point blank chance.
“It was hot,” Robinson said. “It was tough conditions for us, but the boys worked hard. There were some wasted opportunities early on and another day we could have lost four of them.”
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