Ben Stokes has praised the talismanic nature of Nottinghamshire’s Stuart Broad as England’s second Test against New Zealand inches ever closer.
Broad took a brace of wickets, either side of an Ollie Pope run out, on the morning of day three at Lord’s against the Black Caps to swing the pendulum the way of the hosts and, as the evergreen seamer prepares for his 11th Test at his home ground, the England captain has lauded his contribution to the side, particularly at Trent Bridge.
“He loves playing at Trent Bridge, this is where he has played all of his cricket since moving from Leicestershire, and he has great memories here,” Stokes said, “probably the best one being that 8-15 against Australia.
“Every time you walk out onto the field to play for England at your home county it is very special. Every time he goes out and wears the Three Lions he gives it his all.
“They set the example last week, himself and James [Anderson], and it was great to see two guys who have accomplished amazing things charging in like they did last week to win games for England.
"It was inspiring for myself and the younger lads.”
England have named an unchanged side from the one which took a 1-0 in the three match series, including off-spinner Jack Leach who has observed concussion protocols having sustained the injury whilst fielding at Lord’s.
For Stokes, the selection was a simple one, and the buzz in the England dressing room has given him much cause for optimism heading into the Trent Bridge Test.
“One of the great things I have found about the last couple of weeks is generally how much fun it has been,” Stokes said.
“Sometimes, the pressures of being an international cricketer, the pressures of going out and delivering performances on a weekly basis, they can get challenging.
“But we are playing for England, doing a job that we all grew up playing as a hobby. Everyone is looking like they are enjoying themselves."
It is a mood influenced by the vivaciousness of new Head Coach Brendon McCullum, and some novel approaches to warming up, including a penalty shoot out and an innovative catching practice off helmets worn by coaches.
“That energy that Baz has brought has been a lift for everyone,” Stoked admitted, “it has been great having his enthusiasm around the group.”
But the skipper is fully aware of the threat posed by McCullum’s compatriots on Nottinghamshire’s hallowed turf.
Despite a difficult start to their tour, which included a loss to a First Class Counties XI including Lyndon James and Liam Patterson-White, the Black Caps remain reigning World Test Champions.
And with Trent Bridge renowned for seam-friendly conditions, Stokes knows the challenges they may pose.
“I always find we are very evenly matched, especially in English conditions,” he said.
“Any overheads suit both our bowling attacks so we know that every time we go up against New Zealand it is never an easy ride.
“The game [at Lord’s] went to the wire until day four. We don’t expect anything less this time.”
England versus New Zealand at our historic home
From James Anderson ripping through Australia, to Joe Root and Jos Buttler tons, day four fireworks are frankly commonplace at our historic home.
Secure your seats for day four of England against world champions New Zealand here…