England sweat on virus victim Ben Stokes ahead of second Test against Pakistan

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England may have to make a last-minute call on Ben Stokes' fitness, as he tries to recover from a stomach bug in time for the second Test against Pakistan.

Stokes missed training on Tuesday, but was set to take a full part at nets on the eve of the Test at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Captain Alastair Cook explained nonetheless that the tourists will not take any chances on his readiness to be fully effective in the extreme heat of the United Arab Emirates.

"He's had a virus, a 24-hour bug. He didn't look very well yesterday apparently," said Cook, whose team drew last week's first Test.

"But he's here now, for training. We'll just see. He should be fine, but we've got to be careful."

England have the option, if they were not happy with Stokes' well-being, of selecting his fellow all-rounder Samit Patel instead as a third spin option.

They are likely to prefer, however, to stick with the line-up which came so close to going 1-0 up in the three-match series in Abu Dhabi.

Cook added: "It depends how badly he has been knocked about. Five days in this heat, you need to be 100% before you start.

"I think he'll be fine. But we'll see how he gets on in training, and obviously make a decision tomorrow morning."

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