Stokes loss a blow for Durham

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DURHAM suffered a blow ahead of today’s County Championship clash with Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

Having already lost star seamer Graham Onions, who is part of the England squad set to face South Africa at Lord’s tomorrow, Geoff Cook’s men also miss all-rounder Ben Stokes, a late call-up by England Lions to face Australia A at Edgbaston.

That meant Durham faced Notts without two of their key bowlers, and head coach Cook admitted: “We have had to reshuffle things. Although all four seam bowlers have bowled excellently lately, those two have been the outstanding bowlers.

“Stokes has been bowling better than he has been batting recently, but he is in Lions team as a batsman.

“You always have to be prepared for these things when you have players on the periphery of the national squad.”

Michael Richardson or the recently out-of-favour Ian Blackwell were rivals to step into the breach today.