India vs England, 3rd Test: With Ben Stokes recalled, will England go for all-pace attack at Trent Bridge?
After a crushing win at Lord's, will England drop a spinner?

With Ben Stokes recalled to England’s squad for the third Test against India at Trent Bridge, the question arises: will the hosts field an all-pace attack come Saturday?

Stokes, having put put the finishing touches on England’s victory in the first Test at Edgbaston with 4/40 in India’s second innings, had missed the Lord’s Test as he appeared in court. Taking his place was fellow allrounder Chris Woakes, who was named Man of the Match for scoring his maiden Test century and taking four wickets in an innings victory for England.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) named an unchanged squad for the third Test at Trent Bridge, and in a brief statement said that it would review Stokes’ position following the conclusion of the trial. On Tuesday, after Stokes was cleared by the Bristol Crown Court on charges of affray, the ECB quickly recalled him to the squad.

Now the dilemma is: do England drop Woakes for Stokes, just days after one of the best all-round performances of his international career? Do they bring back Stokes and sit out Sam Curran, the 20-year-old Surrey allrounder who was Man of the Match at Edgbaston? Or do they drop Adil Rashid, who played as the specialist spinner at Lord’s but did not bat or bowl?

In Nottingham, conditions are expected to once again assist the seam bowlers and with Stokes now free for selection, Joe Root and the England think-tank may well be tempted to drop the spinner and play an all-pace attack. Given India’s feeble batting in both Tests, it could prove pivotal.

At Edgbaston, all four quicks that England picked took wickets. At Lord’s, James Anderson took nine wickets and Stuart Broad wrapped up an innings win with four scalps. Woakes’ spell on day three was exceptional, in which he dismissed Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane, and on day four he took the last wicket to fall.

Rashid played at Lord’s but became the first English cricketer in 13 years to complete a Test ,match without bowling, batting, taking a coach or effecting a run out. Do England need a specialist spinner at Trent Bridge, given that Root can send down a few overs each day? A five-man pace attack, with Stokes, Woakes, Curran all batting in succession, could prove irresistible come Saturday.