James Anderson backs England to cope in Ben Stokes’s absence

England put on a dominating performance at Old Trafford to bounce back from their Lord’s defeat to level the four-match Test series against Pakistan, but lost all-rounder Ben Stokes to another injury. The Durham star had injured his knee during second Test against Sri Lanka in May and sat out for two months, owing to surgery and rehabilitation. He sat out of the Lord’s game, but returned at Old Trafford, only to suffer a torn calf in the second innings that ruled him out of the next Test.
On the eve of the all-important third Test in Birmingham, James Anderson lauded England’s bounce-back abilities but lamented Stokes’s loss, pointing out the all-rounder’s utility to the side.
“(It was) really positive the way we came out of that Old Trafford Test, unfortunate that we lost Ben Stokes in that game to injury but, all in all, just a really strong team performance,” Anderson said on Monday (August 1).
“He’s a big loss, he just adds that balance to the team. He can come in at six and him being able to bowl plenty of overs does add that healthy balance to the side,” Anderson added.
Stokes’s unavailability leaves a sizeable dent in both the batting and bowling departments. He bowled 15 overs in the first innings in the second Test, dismissing the experienced Younis Khan and Sarfraz Ahmed, and hobbled off with his injury in the sixth over of the second essay. While Anderson, Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes are the three trusted fast bowlers in the side, Stokes’s ability to come in and break partnerships when they fail to do so, is of immense importance to England. In the absence of Stokes, the hosts also need to iron out the flaws of their brittle batting order and provide better support to Alastair Cook and Joe Root.
Anderson, however, feels England are capable of putting on their best game even without Stokes in the line-up. “But we’ve played without him before and coped without him before so we’re going to have to do that this week. Hopefully he’ll be well on the road to recovery and play at The Oval (the venue for the fourth Test),” he pointed out.

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