Chris Woakes fears England may not be able to call upon Ben Stokes to bowl in the remainder of the second Test against New Zealand but hopes to have the “world class” all-rounder at “full tilt”.
Stokes complained of an issue with his left knee, on which he had surgery in 2016 and has continued to be troubled by, after completing his second over in Hamilton on day one.
Tom Latham was unbeaten on 101 and the Black Caps – who lead the two-Test series 1-0 – were 173-3 when rain brought an early end to play after tea.
Stokes will reportedly undergo an assessment to determine whether he will be fit to bowl again in the match.
“Ben’s overs are not just a bonus, he’s a world-class bowler when he’s at his best. Of course we’ll move his overs, whether he can bowl or not I don’t know,” said the recalled Woakes, who claimed the big scalps of Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor.
“He’s obviously got a bit of pain in that left knee, I don’t know exactly what it is but of course we want a Ben Stokes at full tilt if we can because he’s world class.
“Ben is one of the hardest trainers and works hard on his fitness and everything. Hopefully we can get that right. The medical team will be working really hard to do that.
“There’s a bit of a gap between the end of this Test match and the start of the South Africa one so hopefully [they can] get him as close to 100 per cent as possible.”
Rain wins the late afternoon here at Seddon Park 10:30am start tomorrow for day two
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) November 29, 2019
Latham made the most of a reprieve on 66, having been put down by a diving Stokes in the slips, to register a fifth hundred in his past 10 Test innings.
“Ben, in particular, is probably the hardest trainer I’ve ever seen, particularly when it comes to his fielding and his catching,” Woakes said.
“It’s just the way it goes. Unfortunately we’ve put a couple down and it’s hurt us, hopefully this one won’t hurt us quite as badly as the last one did.”