England captain Ben Stokes tempers expectations after Matthew Potts’ “dream debut”

Ben Stokes is hopeful that seamer Matthew Potts can build on his “dream debut” when England take on New Zealand in the second Test of the series at Trent Bridge.

Potts enjoyed an excellent start to life as a Test cricketer, picking up 4-13 and 3-55 on debut at Lord’s as England won the first contest of the summer. And Stokes, who plays alongside Potts at county side Durham, was full of praise for the 23-year-old before looking to temper expectations.

“The way that he started last week was obviously amazing,” Stokes told Sky Sports . “It was pretty much a dream debut for him but I think the most important thing from a senior player point of view, and even for the coaches, is making sure that he keeps improving.

“And, if things don’t go his way this week, it’s not the be-all and end-all. But he’s a fantastic competitor, that’s why he got the opportunity to play.

“I obviously had to use him in a slightly different role because he normally takes the new ball for Durham, but he came on and I think he took a wicket three or four times in his first over when I asked him to do it, so I’ll be looking to use him in the same way, to come in and affect the game and hopefully try and take a wicket when we need one.”

And after such a dramatic match at Lord’s which ebbed and flowed before Joe Root and Ben Foakes guided England to a five-wicket win, Stokes is expecting the second Test to also go down to the wire.

Potts took seven wickets at Lord’s in his maiden England Test
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IAN KINGTON/AFP via Getty Images)

“We’re very evenly matched, especially in English conditions,” the all-rounder added. “Any overhead [cover’ suits both our bowling attacks.

“We know that every time we go up against New Zealand it’s never an easy ride. The game pretty much went to the wire until day four and we don’t expect anything less.”

England have named an unchanged team, with spinner Jack Leach recovering from a concussion to take his place in the side. “It was pretty unfortunate what happened to Leachy last week at Lord’s, but he has pulled up well and it was pretty straightforward once we knew he was fit to play,” Stokes said.

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