England, bidding to avoid a 3-0 clean sweep against West Indies, has fitness doubts over all-rounder Ben Stokes for the third and final Test that starts on Saturday. Opening batsman Keaton Jennings has been recalled after being dropped for the second Test, while wicketkeeper Ben Foakes is dropped.
Captain Joe Root suggested Stokes’s bruised right heel was a result of the heavy burden he carried with the ball during England’s defeats in Barbados and Antigua, bowling more than 77 overs in baking conditions, but he did not completely dismiss reports the injury was sustained while running on the beach during a fitness session.
“Whether it was before that or during that I’m not really sure,” Root said on Friday. “It’s down to a huge amount of workload over the first two Tests. He woke up sore with his heel.”
Stokes could feature as a specialist batsman if he cannot play a full part with his bowling.
“As we’ve seen in the recent past, when he’s not been around it can make a huge difference,” Root said. “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.”
Sam Curran will keep his place if England decides not to risk Stokes. Paceman Mark Wood is set to return to the attack, while Jonny Bairstow will reclaim the wicketkeeping gloves from Foakes.
West Indies: Brathwaite, Campbell, Hope, Darren Bravo, Hetmyer, Chase, Dowrich, Roach, Joseph, Gabriel, Thomas, Paul.
England: Burns, Jennings, Denly, Root, Bairstow, Stokes, Buttler, Moeen Ali, Curran, Broad, Anderson, Wood.