England coach Trevor Bayliss has asked his players to stay focused ahead of the third Test as the entire team awaits the decision on Ben Stokes. England on Monday (August 13) announced an unchanged squad for the third Test and has declared that a final decision on Stokes will be made after his court case outcome.
Stokes' absence in the third Test was covered up by Chris Woakes who notched up his first Test ton and played a key role in England's victory at Lord's. Winning the first two Tests, England now have the initiative to complete a series win by winning the next Test at Trent Bridge starting from next Saturday (August 18).
"The results speak for themselves," said Bayliss, when asked how the players had been affected by court proceedings in the last week. "The guys are able to put anything off field out of their mind and concentrate on what they are doing. And this was the perfect example."
Bayliss also hopes that irrespective of whether Ben Stokes plays the next Test, this performance by Woakes will help him stand in good stead in his career ahead. "Woakesy is one of those guys who is very well respected in the team. He has done a lot of hard yards, not just with the ball but with the bat over the last few years too. He's a lovely bloke, and one of those guys who everyone genuinely wants to do well, so to see him go out there and do so well when we thought we were in a bit of trouble, to go and play the way he did with Jonny (Bairstow), was fantastic. The boys were very happy for him."
Bayliss also had a special mention for his strike bowler in James Anderson who picked up his 26th 5 wicket haul in Tests. "He's fit and keeps himself fit. As long as he keeps his body fit there's no reason why he can't go on for three or four years. He's not just good when the conditions suit him, but in these conditions he's the best in the world. It's a test for any batsman in the world to try to face him in these conditions."
"He keeps surprising everyone. At the moment, the last 12-18 months, he has had a shoulder problem, but at the moment he seems to have got over that pretty well and he just bowls and bowls and bowls. Hopefully that continues for a few years yet."
Anderson now stands on the edge of overlapping Glenn McGrath's tally of 563 Test wickets in the next Test.
England squad for the third Test
Joe Root (c), Moeen Ali, Jimmy Anderson, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Alastair Cook, Sam Curran, Keaton Jennings, Ollie Pope, Jamie Porter, Adil Rashid, Chris Woakes