Revenge driving England in Ashes

LONDON • Ben Stokes believes the "massive" motivation of revenge for last year's Ashes humiliation will ensure England seek to ram home the advantage gained in Cardiff when the second cricket Test at Lord's begins today.

As it emerged that the veteran Australian wicket-keeper Brad Haddin will miss the Test for "family reasons", it was being reported in Australia that Shane Watson has been dropped from the side.

Peter Nevill will make his Test debut in place of Haddin, while Mitchell Marsh will step in for the veteran all-rounder Watson.

Watson was twice out leg before wicket cheaply in all-too familiar fashion as England, against many pre-series predictions, won the first Test in Cardiff by the crushing margin of 169 runs with more than a day to spare last week.

The 34-year-old's lbw double in Cardiff means he has now passed 50 in just two of his past 16 innings.

With two of the old Australia heads removed from the line-up, Stokes said England would go into the match buoyed by the confidence gained by their assertive performance in Wales.

"When Rooty (Joe Root) caught the catch at the end, it was like revenge," the all-rounder said.

"When they were eight wickets down, I was thinking about how we felt when we were getting beaten every game.

"To be on the verge of winning when they were eight wickets down and after what they did to us in Australia was pretty cool.

"If we can walk away at the end of five days, or four days if we can, and we are 2-0 up, then we will be in a really good position to win the Ashes."

The 24-year-old Durham player expects the tourists to be more vocal and aggressive on the field at Lord's, given the pressure they are now under.

Stokes, who made 52 and 42 with the bat in Cardiff, said: "There wasn't hardly as much said in Cardiff as there was in Australia. I'm not quite sure why.

"Maybe the match referee had a word with the two captains, I'm not sure. But I think it might be a bit different here.

"Australia are 1-0 down and they'll want to get some revenge on us because we obviously beat them in four days, which was probably a shock to them.

"This game might be played in a different way but hopefully it won't overstep the line."

This is not the first time Haddin, 37, has put his family ahead of his cricket career. In 2012, he took several months out of the game after his then 17-month-old daughter Mia was diagnosed with neuroblastoma - a rare form of cancer.

Australia whitewashed England 5-0 in the previous series.


Day 1: England v Australia, Singtel TV Ch123 & StarHub Ch236, 6pm

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 16, 2015, with the headline 'Revenge driving England in Ashes'. Print Edition | Subscribe