Durham duo to return

KEEN TO PLAY: Ben Stokes

KEEN TO PLAY: Ben Stokes

First published in Sport The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

DURHAM will have Ben Stokes and Paul Collingwood available when the first team resume in the championship match at home to Lancashire on Sunday.

In his determination to prove his fitness to the England selectors, Stokes volunteered to play in a three-day match for the second team this week, while a scan on Collingwood’s injured finger revealed no break.

The four-day captain suffered the injury in Friday evening’s Twenty20 defeat at Edgbaston and missed the following day’s match at Worcester.

Mark Wood was left out of the squad for those games because of a knee problem, but will be fit to face Lancashire.

Durham are still waiting for the verdict on Graham Onions following his visit yesterday to the specialist in London who performed his back surgery four years ago.

Following his shock omission from the squad for the first Test against Sri Lanka, Stokes was told he had not bowled enough overs since his wrist injury to be considered.

“He spoke to James Whitaker and was told he would be in contention for the second Test,” said Durham coach Jon Lewis.

“When he was told he needed more bowling he asked if he could play for the seconds at Coventry this week. Warwickshire are also putting out a strong team with Jonathan Trott and Jim Troughton making their comebacks.

“We agreed that Ben would get most of his overs in early in the week and be ready to play against Lancashire. We will definitely select him, although there’s a chance England might pull him out of the match if they want him for the second Test.

“Playing for the seconds shows his determination to get back in the England team. He’s just trying to do what’s best.”

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