England have not given up hope that Ben Stokes could be available for the second Test starting at Lord’s on August 9.
Stokes is due in court in Bristol on August 6 – the day after the Edgbaston Test is scheduled to finish – to face a charge of affray with the case scheduled to last somewhere between five and seven days.
But the England management are keeping an open mind as to Stokes’ availability, should the case be adjourned for any reason. If that were to happen on the first or second day of the trial, the England camp have confirmed to ESPNcricinfo they would consider his involvement in the Test at Lord’s.
Replacing Stokes, as England found during the Ashes, is desperately difficult. While the England management are expecting a drier surface at Lord’s that could well see Moeen Ali drafted back into the side as a second spinner, they would prefer him to play alongside Stokes, rather than instead of him.
A case can be adjourned for many reasons including illness, the admission of new evidence or a change in the charge. While it remains likely the case will go ahead as originally envisaged – certainly the Stokes camp has no plans to call for an adjournment – the England camp are keen to find a way to accommodate Stokes if he becomes available.