Stokes issues warning to India ahead of rearranged final Test at Edgbaston

By Sports Desk June 30, 2022

Ben Stokes warned England are capable of taking their aggressive new approach to another level ahead of the rearranged fifth Test against India.

England started a new era under Test captain Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum by beating New Zealand 3-0.

They went on the attack in three big run chases to whitewash the Black Caps, who defeated India to win the inaugural World Test Championship final last year.

England will get the chance to continue riding the crest of a wave at Edgbaston on Friday, aiming to draw the series 2-2 in a match that was due to be played at Old Trafford last year, only for India to head home early due to fears over an increase in coronavirus cases in their camp.

Asked if England can be even more positive in the longest format, Stokes replied: "If there's a team that can, it's us."

Stokes did not play in the four Tests against India last year, as he was taking a break to protect his mental health while also recovering from a broken finger.

The all-rounder is relishing an opportunity to maintain the momentum now, though.

"It is a bit strange," he said. "It is different opposition, but I made it very clear after the New Zealand series how we're going to do things, and we're going to go out there and try to operate in the same way."

James Anderson replaces Jamie Overton after missing the victory over the Black Caps at Headingley due to an ankle injury, while wicketkeeper-batter Sam Billings plays as Ben Foakes has not fully recovered from COVID-19.

Paceman Jasprit Bumrah will captain the tourists for the first time in the absence of Rohit Sharma, who is sidelined after contracting coronavirus.

India have not won an away Test series against England since 2007, and they have never won at Edgbaston in the longest format, losing six matches and drawing one.

Bairstow in the form of his life

Jonny Bairstow has thrived on having license to play with freedom in a new dawn for England.

Bairstow and former captain Joe Root were outstanding with the bat against New Zealand, scoring 394 and 396 runs respectively in six knocks.

The powerful Bairstow has racked up 774 runs this year at an average of 64.5. Only in 2016 (1,470 runs at 58.8) has he scored more in a single year since his debut in the format in 2012.

Kohli closing in on landmark as he eyes elusive century

Virat Kohli was unable to score a long-awaited century against Sri Lanka in March after stepping down as captain.

You have to go back to November 2019 for his last Test hundred, which came against Bangladesh. 

Kohli only needs another 40 runs to reach the 2,000 mark against England in Tests, a feat that only Sachin Tendulkar (2,535) and Sunil Gavaskar (2,483) have achieved.

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