Ben Stokes could play as specialist batsman for England against Windies as he battles heel injury

February 08, 2019

Ben Stokes could play as a specialist batsman for England in the third Test against Windies in St Lucia as he battles a bruised heel.

Stokes missed the tourists' practice session on Thursday but will train on Friday before England make a call on his status for the Gros Islet Test.

Joe Root's side will be seeking to avoid a series whitewash when the match gets underway on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 1.30pm, following their heavy defeats in Barbados and Antigua.

Root said of Stokes: "It's down to a huge amount of workload over the first two Tests. He woke up sore with his heel.

"He's an integral part of all three formats and gives you great balance across the board. As we've seen in the recent past when he's not been around it can make a huge difference.

"Of course we want Ben fit and firing and ready to go as many times as possible but it's so important he is able to do his job properly."

Wicketkeeper Ben Foakes has been passed fit despite still braving a bruised hand - the Surrey man suffered the knock while batting in England's first innings in Antigua with Jonny Bairstow taking the gloves.

Mark Wood could inject some pace into the bowling attack but a knee injury has dashed Chris Woakes' hopes of a first appearance of the series.

Root told Sky Sports Cricket: "We've gone away individually and had a good think about how to get better and come back from two poor performances. You have to accept that's not good enough and find ways to improve.

"One of the overriding messages is that we have done some very special things over the last couple of months - we saw a huge amount of success in Sri Lanka [to win there 3-0].

"It has not quite worked for us here but as a side we have to remember that development, that improvement since the start of the summer - it was a big achievement beating India at home.

"It would be very easy to look at two poor performances and think we are bottom of the pile - we have to pick ourselves up off the canvas.

"There is an Ashes around the corner and that should be a great motivator for guys to go out and put in strong performances."

Kraigg Brathwaite will captain Windies with regular skipper Jason Holder handed a one-game ban for his team's slow over rate during their 10-wicket, series-sealing victory at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium last week.

Watch the third Test between Windies and England, at Gros Islet in St Lucia, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 1.30pm on Saturday.You can also follow over-by-over commentary and in-play clips on our rolling blog on skysports.com and the Sky Sports app.

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