Chris Woakes named in England team as Ben Stokes' replacement

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Football News

Chris Woakes will be back for England in the second Investec Test, after captain Alastair Cook confirmed his return at Chester-le-Street in place of the injured Ben Stokes.

Woakes, who has six Test caps to date, last played at this level four months ago at Centurion - where England lost the match to South Africa but still took the series.

The 27-year-old all-rounder has won the battle for the final place in England's team, following last week's innings win over Sri Lanka - with uncapped frontline seamer Jake Ball again losing out.

Cook said: "Chris Woakes is going to come in for Ben Stokes. He's going to bat at number eight, and Jonny (Bairstow) and Mo (Ali) are going to push up to six and seven."

Ball, also omitted from the first Test of three at Headingley, must therefore wait a little longer for his debut - England preferring a player who is a closer fit to the balance previously provided by Stokes.

The Durham star is missing his home Test, after surgery on his knee on Tuesday, and is unlikely to be back until the beginning of a four-match series against Pakistan in July.

Woakes put himself in the frame, after England chose both him and Ball in a 12-man squad, by recording a career-best nine-wicket haul for Warwickshire on the very same day.

Cook confirmed nonetheless that Ball came in for significant consideration.

"He was definitely brought up in conversation," said Cook.

"(But) we enjoyed playing with the balance of the side, and this gives Chris another opportunity to play for England.

"I don't think we've seen the best of him yet in an England shirt, but he's in fine form for Warwickshire - a 'nine-for' and a hundred in the last two weeks."

England do not have an established all-rounder at their disposal who can replicate Stokes' proven match-winning ability in both disciplines.

But Woakes undoubtedly comes closest, despite his modest Test record to date.

Cook added: "We know Ben balances our side really well, but we need competition for the all-rounder place.

"It's disappointing for Ben.

"I've just seen him upstairs - he's in a good mood, after his operation went well.

"It's great that he's around. It's a bad thing for Ben missing out, but it gives someone else the opportunity."

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