It will be a tough selection for the third Test at Trent Bridge.
Sam Curran and Chris Woakes have won the Man of the Match awards in the first two Tests and, with Ben Stokes coming back into the squad, it will be a difficult decision for the coach and captain.
But Stokes walks into most teams around the world and so, back available, I’m sure he will be one of the first names on the team sheet. I’m looking forward to seeing him joining us back at training.
It has been a difficult 10 or 11 months for him, I’m sure, but it’s important for him that he can get back to being the amazing cricketer we know and love.
The atmosphere among the lads is great after such an emphatic win over India at Lord’s. The dressing room is a special place to be on days like that – celebrating with your teammates, it’s one of the most enjoyable parts of playing cricket.
There were some fantastic performances put in by the guys, the bowlers especially. They showed incredible amounts of skill and passion to dismiss India so cheaply twice.
It’s a privilege to be on the same field as guys like Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad when they catch fire like they can do. Two of the best there has ever been.
There’s talk again about how long Jimmy can continue for. He’s 36 and fast bowling puts horrible exertion on the body, but he is still very much enjoying his cricket, and is an incredible professional, keeping in great shape. He is a great role model for us all.
It’s down to him how long he wants to keep playing, but it seems like he is only getting better and better with age, bringing up a century of strikes at Lord’s this week and moving up to 553 overall. Murali’s 800 wickets may be just out of reach, though!
And Woakesy – what a first Test back for him, too! He’s been out with various niggles and injuries this year, but he looked like he has been bowling all summer, with a fantastic spell on day two, hitting the money from ball one.
When these guys are on song, you feel like the ball is coming to you every ball. And that’s literally what happened to me when I made up for a couple of drops off Woakesy at second slip with catches immediately after.
You obviously never mean to miss chances, but I was just happy to grab onto the next ones. It was a new job for me at second slip; I’ll keep working hard and try to get better. Hopefully Woakesy has let me off!
I was delighted to see him notch a maiden Test century and get on the Lord’s Honours Board with the bat. He has an amazing record at Lord’s! He averages over 100 and takes his wickets at 10s!
It just shows what a popular member of the team he is that everyone was out on the balcony for him when he reached three figures. He epitomises what we want to be about as a team; he gives everything for the side, such a selfless character.
The man doesn’t have any flaws! He is Mr Perfect. And there was plenty of time for any bad habits of his to surface given all the rain breaks during the Test.
There are a few weather experts in the dressing room, chiming in on when we’ll be getting back out in the middle. Alastair Cook comes in every morning with a report that has been sent to him by Jonathan Trott, a renowned weather watcher.
I played some cards. Myself, Jimmy, Keaton Jennings and Jamie Porter had a few games. And luckily the return of the Premier League coincided with a few of the stoppages, so we were able to watch a bit of football.
There were a few crosswords flying about, too. There aren’t too many intellectuals in the dressing room, so it took us all a little longer than most. Adil Rashid tends to keep quiet, though he might pop up with the odd answer.
Ollie Pope fitted in great with the team on debut. That’s one of the real strengths of the side, that there’s a nice, relaxed culture which makes it easy for a new guy to come in and feel at home. Obviously, having one of his great mates in Curran in the side helped as well.
He looked the part as well. Lord’s is a great but possibly daunting place to make your debut, yet he took it all in his stride, looked in control out in the middle and a fluent stroke maker.
It’s a Saturday start for the next Test at Trent Bridge, though you don’t really look at the days as a cricketer. You sort of forget what day it is.
I’ve had a day out with the wife during the break, we went to a few museums – the Science Museum and the Natural History museum. The dinosaur exhibits were a particularly favourite and the blue whale skeleton was pretty cool.
Other than that, I’ll try to sneak in a game of golf before the real prep begins for the next game. Here’s hoping we can recapture that winning feeling in the dressing room.
Watch day one of the third Test between England and India from 10am on Saturday on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event.
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