Sri Lanka in England 2016 May 23, 2016

Stokes set for knee operation, Woakes called up

ESPNcricinfo staff

Play 01:20
'First Pakistan Test a realistic return date for Stokes'

Ben Stokes is expected to undergo a knee operation on Tuesday afternoon, a minor procedure that is likely to rule him out of action until the tour of Pakistan in July.

Stokes felt his left knee lock up while bowling on the second afternoon of last week's Headingley Test, and though he returned to the field to bowl four more overs, he played no part in the closing stages of England's commanding innings-and-88-run victory.

His place in the squad for the second Test, at his home ground of Chester-le-Street, has been taken by the Warwickshire allrounder Chris Woakes, who is the only change to England's 12-man squad.

Stokes underwent a scan on Sunday and is booked in for further evaluation by specialists on Tuesday morning. However, an ECB spokesman confirmed to ESPNcricinfo the likelihood that he will require a minor operation to clean out his knee cartilage. Though he can expect to return to training within a fortnight, he is likely to be sidelined from international cricket for up to six weeks.

That timescale would rule Stokes out of both of the remaining two Tests against Sri Lanka, at Durham and then Lord's, starting June 9, as well as the five ODIs and one-off T20 that follow. Durham play Hampshire in a County Championship fixture on July 3, ahead of the first Test against Pakistan at Lord's on July 14.

The second Test against Sri Lanka will be the first that Stokes has missed since being recalled against West Indies in April last year and is a blow to Durham, his county, who have struggled to sell tickets for the match and would have still been hoping for some late interest with the presence of a local star.

Woakes' most recent of his six Tests came against South Africa, at Centurion, when he replaced the injured Steven Finn. He had a forgettable outing with match figures of 1 for 144, but England's desire to replace Stokes with an allrounder and their consistency in the selection means he has earned the nod.

He has 14 wickets at 26.64 in four Championship matches (to the start of the current fixture against Somerset, which he will now leave after two days) and also scored a century against Nottinghamshire.

If England want to retain a similar balance to their side for the second Test then Woakes will come into the XI. However, England could still opt for Jake Ball, the uncapped Nottinghamshire seamer who has kept his place in the squad. Either routes would likely see Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali moving up a spot in the batting order.

After the second Test there is a slightly longer gap before the final match of the series starts at Lord's.

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