Ben Stokes urges England to turn on the style against New Zealand - ‘We’re in the entertainment business’

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Ben Stokes has encouraged his England team to consider themselves in “the entertainment business not the sporting business” when they take on New Zealand in the third and final Test at Headingley on Thursday.

England have won their first two Tests under Stokes, at Lord’s and Trent Bridge that were both thrilling affairs to have included big chases. Under the new captain and coach, Brendon McCullum, England are playing an attacking brand of cricket and Stokes wants that to continue this week.

“It’d be amazing,” said Stokes when asked what a whitewash would mean. “We want to walk away with the series winning three-NIL because it does sound better to 2-1.

“I said upstairs to the lads before we started training today, the result will look after itself this week. Let’s carry on what the what we’ve been doing the last two weeks and try and think that we’re in the entertainment business not the sporting business this week.”

Stokes told England fans to expect similar fireworks to those provided by Jonny Bairstow at Trent Bridge. The Yorkshireman smashed 136 from 92 balls to take England to victory in the final session, including a big partnership with Stokes.

Asked what being entertainers looked like, Stokes said: “what you saw last week on that day five is exactly what it was. For us it was it was a matter of just chasing the runs down not how many overs there. At not one stage did we look at that. I think was pretty clear by the fact we knocked them off in 16 overs in the last session.

“Me and Jonny just decided that was a time to put as much pressure back on them as we possibly could. And that’s what we’re doing this week.

“There will come a time, at some point this week, we have to do it with the ball or the bat. So yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw something similar to Jonny did last week, because I’m sure if any of our guys get in they’ll be looking to do something - maybe not as good as what Jonny did last week - but something similar.”

England have been forced into one change, with 39-year-old James Anderson ruled out with an ankle injury, bringing Jamie Overton his Test debut ahead of his twin brother Craig.

“I’m excited to see him operate this week,” he said. “And he’s been given a clear role when I phoned him if he wants to get the opportunity a couple days ago. Hopefully he can show the world what he’s been doing for Surrey.

“He deserves to be out there representing England this week. He’s obviously in great form as well so there’s not a better time for him to show the world what he’s got.

“Both the Overton twins have been around first-class cricket a while and Craig’s been around in international cricket now for a few years. Jamie was part of that group at the Ageas Bowl back in 2020 and I remember when I asked him to come and bowl fast and short at the batters he did six overs of it and it was very impressive.

“He’s definitely got the attitude and attributes to become an international player which is why he’s managed to get the call up this week.”

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