England skipper Ben Stokes on Wednesday (22nd June) said that he has set a challenge for his side to be more fearless and aggressive than the last two games in the third Test against New Zealand in Leeds.
England’s new era under Stokes and Brendon McCullum started on a high as they clinched the three-match Test series against New Zealand with one match to go. The hosts have looked very motivated on the field and have played an aggressive brand of cricket.
They displayed a staggering performance in all departments and it was a collective effort from the whole side to register two wins under a new skipper and coach. They thumped the Black Caps by 5 wickets in the Lord’s Test and then followed it with a dominant chase in the Trent Bridge.
The dead-rubber third Test slated between the teams is slated to take place at Leeds from June 23. The Stokes-led side would be eyeing a whitewash and would be looking to reply to all the critics that they have faced over the last year.
Speaking to reporters on the eve of the third Test, Ben Stokes said that although they have won the series but he wants his side to play the same way they did in the first two games as World Test Championship points are on the line.
"We've obviously won the series but there are World Test Championship points to play for. We want to carry on with the way we've played," Ben Stokes said.
Stokes talked about the dressing room talk he had with his teammates. He said that he has set the challenge for his side to be even more fearless and aggressive.
"I was pretty simple and clear in the dressing room. Let's try and think like we're in the entertainment business rather than the sporting business... there's a reason why 20,000 people came out to watch us at Trent Bridge last week. So I set a challenge to the team to be even more fearless, positive and aggressive than last week,” he said.
English pace spearhead James Anderson was ruled out of the third Test match due to an ankle injury and in his place England named debutant Jamie Overton in the side.
Stokes addressed the pacer’s injury and said that he’s hopeful that Anderson will recover in time for the one-off Test against India, which will begin from 1st July.
He also talked about the Overton and said that the lanky pacer will have a different role for them to play.
"It's unfortunate for Jimmy, but we've got a massive Test against India coming up as well. I'm not too sure how serious it is, to be honest. He's just got a bit of a puffy ankle.
“(Jamie) fills a different role from Jimmy, but to have someone in your back pocket who can bowl 90 miles an hour is big for us. That's the only change this week,” he said.
Stokes concluded by saying that since they haven’t suffered a defeat under him, their character will only reflect after they taste a defeat.
"We're still yet to have a bad result. When things don't go well is when the message we are trying to get across becomes more important," he said.
England has already named their playing XI for the third Test against New Zealand. From the last match, there’s only one change as Overton is all set to make his debut in place of Anderson, who was ruled out of the match due to injury.