The England Test captain showed faith in Nick Compton and Chris Woakes ahead of second test match against Sri Lanka © Getty Images
The England Test captain showed faith in Nick Compton and Chris Woakes ahead of second Test match against Sri Lanka © Getty Images

England Test skipper, Alastair Cook, has shown confidence on Ben Stokes’ replacement, Chris Woakes and struggling batsman, Nick Compton ahead of the second Test match against Sri Lanka at Chester-le-Street, starting on Friday (May 27). Cook gave his backing to the two players but also added that both of them need to put up noteworthy performances to cement their places in the England Test side. England dominated Sri Lanka in the first Test by winning the match inside three days and by a whopping margin of an innings and 88 runs. They lead the three-match series by 1-0. ALSO READ: Eng vs SL, 2nd Test: Preview and Predictions

Woakes, called for Ben Stokes, who suffered a knee injury in the first Test, has been in prime form in County season and recently took his career-best first-class figures of 9 for 36 against Durham. However, he has struggled to make his mark in Test cricket. He has taken a mere eight wickets in six Tests at an average of 63.75. On his part, Cook, according to cricbuzz.com, believes in his abilities and hopes he can deliver the goods when required.

A confident Alastair Cook stated, “He is one of those guys we have not seen the best of in international cricket but there is no doubt in my mind that facing him in the nets, seeing him bowl for Warwickshire or knowing his character that he has a lot going for him. He is really respected. The England Test skipper told that Woakes needs a big performance to make him feel settled in the side and help him feel he belongs in international cricket.

Cook also spoke about Jake Ball, the tall Nottinghamshire seamer, who he feels is close to making it to the final XI. Ball has snared 21 wickets at an impressive average of 22.28 in the 2016 County Championship. Speaking about Ben Stokes’ injury, he said, “Stokes is going to be a big loss for us. However, injuries are part and parcel of a side and we need to know we can play without him. Chris (Woakes) has that opportunity to fill the all-rounder role and Moeen Ali and Jonny Bairstow go up a spot in the batting, so it gives them more of an opportunity.”

On the other hand, England’s No. 3 batsman, Nick Compton, has been in miserable form and found runs hard to come by his willow. Cook admitted that Compton is not in good touch but had words of encouragement for him as he pointed to Compton’s fine First Class record to indicate that he is a proven performer.

“We know he is a good player,” he noted. “There’s no doubt about that, you see his record in first-class cricket over the past five years, he is right up there in the run-scorer’s chart. He made an important 80-odd in South Africa in tough conditions, he battled hard and set up that win, and he scored two hundreds already so he can play at this level”, concluded the 31-year-old left-hander.