England are once again banking on all-rounder Ben Stokes – who won them the first Test against New Zealand almost single-handedly – for the second Test at Headingley starting from Friday.
Stokes was instrumental in turning the wheels of fortune in England's favour during the first Test at the Lord's. In the first innings, he came to bat when England were reeling at 30 for four. Stokes built a fantastic partnership with England vice-captain Joe Root in order to rescue their side. He went on to score 92 runs from 94 balls which inculded 15 fours and a six.
In the second innings too, he was involved in a crucial partnership with England skipper Alastair Cook. Stokes went on to hit a match-turning ton, which became the fastest Test century ever scored at Lord's. He achieved the feat in just 85 balls and his innings consisted of 15 boundaries and three sixes. It propelled England to register a lead of 344 runs over New Zealand in the second innings.
When he came out ot ball on Day 5 of the first Test on Monday, he took three for 38 runs. He dismissed Kane Williamson, who played a sublime knock in the first innings, and New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum, in consecutive deliveries. This helped England secure a victory over New Zeland in the first Test of the two-match Test series.
The vice-captain of the England cricket team Joe Root believes that Stokes will once again come in handy during the second Test match at Headingley.
"He will be fine. When he is batting, he is a free spirit; he goes and plays his shots and puts sides under pressure. Even in times of struggle, when we are 30 for four, he came out and put them on the back foot," Root told reporters ahead of the second Test match at Leeds.
"It will not work every time and could have looked slightly reckless if it didn't come off. The key for him and the rest of us now is to make sure it is not a one-off and go on and do it again this week," Root added.