England's Test captain Ben Stokes registered a unique record after England's 10-wicket victory over Ireland in the one-off Test against Ireland on Saturday, June 3. Stokes, a fifth-ranked ICC Test all-rounder, became the first Test captain to win the match without batting, bowling, or keeping wickets. He struggled with a chronic left knee issue as he opt out of bowling against Ireland and didn't get a chance to bat as England's top order proved efficient after losing just four wickets across two innings.
Stokes joined England camp with some fitness issues during his Indian Premier League 2023 stint with Chennai Super Kings. He missed the majority of the tournament due to a minor toe injury and bowled just one over. With the upcoming Ashes in mind, Stokes clarified that he was taking a precaution against Ireland and was only going to bowl if required.
However, after the Ireland match, Stokes revealed that he landed awkwardly on his left knee while taking a catch to dismiss Curtis Campher in Ireland's second innings on Day 3. Stokes was then spotted struggling with his movement for the remainder of the match on Day 3.
"I didn't quite see it so had to adjust myself and landed on my left leg and it twisted in a really strange way. It was fine, I just don't know what really happened. It was one of those things - but I am 32 tomorrow so that probably explains it," Stokes said after the match.
Stokes also squashed away questions of his potential absence from the opening Ashes match which kicks off in Edgbaston on June 16. Pace all-rounder added that he bowled in the training sessions prior to the Ireland match and has enough time to recover fully before the Australia series.
"I bowled this morning - the first time I'd bowled since being back from India, so it would have been about four weeks actually," Stokes said. "I got through that and was really happy with where I was. So no, nothing [for England fans] to worry about."
"I was really happy with how I bowled [before play]. I bowled for about 20 minutes and I got through that really well. Obviously, I have got time to build up before I push back into flat out, but I just landed quite awkwardly when I took that catch."
Stokes and England kicked off their summer with a bang as they beat Ireland by 10 wickets. Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, and Joe Root entered the record books as England posted 524/4 in just 82.4 overs in their first innings. Stuart Broad took a five-for in the first innings to bowl out Ireland on 172 runs and then debutant pacer Josh Tongue shone with a five-for in the second innings to earn a spot in England's Ashes squad for the first two matches.