Stokes expected to bowl in first Test in NZ


England allrounder Ben Stokes will be fit to bowl in the first against New Zealand, starting in Auckland on Thursday, if he comes through training in the next few days.

Stokes did not bowl in England’s two warm-up fixtures as he has been nursing a stiff back since the ODI series against the Black Caps.

The Durham player seems to have recovered though and will step up his training ahead of the game at Eden Park.

An England and Wales Cricket Board spokesperson said of Stokes’ injury: “His plan is to bowl tomorrow and on Wednesday outdoors.

“If he comes through, which he is expected to, he will bowl in the Auckland Test.”

Stokes is still expected to play even if he cannot bowl his usual workload, but if he only plays as a batsman England will have to look at the balance of their side with a batsman likely to miss out.

James Vince looks set to be dropped with Craig Overton likely to be selected as the fourth seamer.