Stokes: England seamers ‘licking their lips’ ahead of day-night Test


en Stokes says England are anticipating a “completely different game” when Wednesday’s pink-ball Test against India in Ahmedabad begins, and revealed that the tourists’ seamers are “licking their lips”, having had to stop bowling in the nets because they feared injuring their team-mates.

England won the opening Test of the series, before being thrashed on a wicket that turned considerably from the opening day in the second.

The Third Test is a day-nighter, the first at the remodelled Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad. England have longed eye this match, just the second pink-ball Test in India.

With Moeen Ali going home to rest, England could play Stokes as one of four seamers with Jack Leach the only frontline spinner.

Jimmy Anderson and Jofra Archer seem certain to return to the XI, leaving Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood and Olly Stone scrapping for one place that could be taken by off-spinner Dom Bess if they deem the surface dry enough.

Stokes said it is the seamers causing issues in the nets, though.

“Broady, Jimmy and Jofra have been licking their lips, I can tell you,” Stokes told talkSPORT.

“It’s going to be a completely different game, I think. We’ve seen over the years how day-night cricket has offered assistance to quick bowlers especially when the lights come on and the pink ball seems to do a lot more under the lights as well.

“It was funny in training yesterday, when the lights came on, the nets actually got really dangerous. The bowlers had to stop bowling in the nets because we were actually worried that some of the batters were going to get injured because the ball started jumping off a length and a few guys actually got hit.

“We had to take the bowlers out into the middle to finish off their spells. Whether that’s going to be similar in the middle, we’re not sure. You can tell the difference when bowling with a red ball in the normal times you see Tests played to bowling with a pink ball when the lights are on.”

England have played three pink-ball Tests, but none since March 2018.

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