Ben Stokes: ‘Brave’ Joe Root is feeling like a teenager again after matching-winning ton in first Test

Watch the second test between England and New Zealand live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10am on Friday – Jack Leach passed fit after concussion as the name of the hosts XI unchanged for the game at Trent Bridge; Ben Stokes ‘fine’ to play role with bat and ball after physical scare

Joe Root retired from the England Test captaincy in April and scored a winning century in Ben Stokes’ first game in charge.

Ben Stokes has praised Joe Root for his winning contribution to England’s victory over New Zealand at Lord’s and his “brave” reflection on his time as captain.

speaking to sky sports after his superb, unbeaten 115 in England’s five-wicket victory in the opening match of the LV=Insurance series, Root revealed that the captaincy had begun to have an “unhealthy effect” on him before he left office in april.

Stokes, who was Root’s vice-captain during his time in charge and has now taken over as skipper, can see that Root has had the weight off his shoulders and feels he will soon be back playing locker room pranks in addition to scoring runs.

Before the second test at Trent Bridge – live Sky Sports Cricket as of 10 a.m. Friday, Stokes told reporters, “I’ve been through all that travel with Joe, especially the last two years. We’ve had some private talks on tour about that sort of thing.”

“I’m sure you all know, there’s more to being England captain than what you do on the pitch. You can end up taking it home with you and it can affect your personal situation, which Joe was very brave to say.”

“This week, without the added pressure of being captain, it was almost like Joe was 18 again. And I’m pretty sure it won’t be long until he cuts people’s socks off again.”

“It’s great to see Joe the way he is. It’s great that he doesn’t have that added mountain of pressure of being captain on his shoulders.”

“And the only thing Joe ever does is score runs.”

Having secured a win in his first game in charge and from new head coach Brendon McCullum, Stokes could now add a first Test series win as skipper to his CV if England follow up with another victory at Trent Bridge.

But Stokes is not getting ahead of himself and knows that New Zealand, the reigning world test champions, “is never an easy road”.

“It’s great to come here with the confidence to win the first game of the summer, but obviously we have to park that this week, it’s a new game,” Stokes said.

“We know that every time we play New Zealand it’s never an easy ride, the game always tends to go to the edge. Neither team really seems too far ahead of the other.”

“We know we’re in for another tough week against them. They’re a very tough team to play against; the conditions in England suit our bowling attack as well as their bowling attack.”

He added: “The first time he wins a series would obviously be good.

“It’s going to be a long road the way we’ve changed our mindset. I know there’s going to be some ups and downs.”

“We are in a great moment after winning last week, but we have to try to take everything as it comes, because who knows what this week will bring.”

England have named an unchanged XI for the second Test against New Zealand at Trent Bridge, with Jack Leach fit after a concussion and Stokes declaring he is “fine” to bowl.

Left arm spinner Leach retired six overs in the first test at Lord’s after suffering a heavy fall at the limit. His mandatory seven-day rest period ended on Thursday and he was fully involved in England’s training session.

Stokes, who appeared to adjust his side while bowling in practice on Wednesday, has also guaranteed his fitness for the Trent Bridge Test, confirming he will play a role with both the bat and the ball.

“Everything good this morning,” Stokes said when asked about his fitness Thursday. “Just a little stiff.”

He added that it was more of a precautionary measure than anything else, saying sky sports: “It’s probably just being more sensible about training and things like that.

“Because obviously once you go out there and cross that line, you want to do everything you can to help win a game for England.”

As for Leach, Stokes described his return to the XI as an “easy” decision, once he proved his fitness.

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