Ben Stokes has revealed that he has set a challenge for his England teammates, urging them to remain fearless and aggressive during the third Test against New Zealand at Headingley.

The hosts are currently 2-0 up in the series and are targeting to whitewash the World Test Championship winners. Stokes and Brendon McCullum have changed the attitude of England’s Test team and this was evident in the win at Trent Bridge.

Chasing a target of 299 runs on the final day, Jonny Bairstow and the captain smashed the New Zealand bowling lineup to secure the win. Bairstow scored 136 runs in 92 balls, smashing 14 boundaries and seven sixes. He was supported by Stokes, who scored 75 runs off 70 balls.

Speaking ahead of the final test in Headingley, the English skipper revealed that he told his teammates to keep up the intensity. Stokes said he told his teammates to think they’re in the entertainment business rather than the sporting one. He also told the squad that there’s a reason why 20,000 people turned up at Trent Bridge. Stokes said he has set a challenge for the team to remain more fearless, positive and aggressive than in the last game.

“I’ve said to the players this week, let’s try and think like we’re in the entertainment business rather than the sporting business. There’s a reason why 20,000 people came out to watch us at Trent Bridge last week. So I set a challenge to the team to be even more fearless, positive, and aggressive than last week,” said Stokes.

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson, who missed the second Test due to COVID-19, said he would be back for the final match. Williamson said that England are a strong side but the focus for the Kiwis is to get better.

“I watched a lot of it, I didn’t have too much else to do. I don’t shout at the TV, I watch and observe. It’s always interesting seeing it from a different perspective, although it wasn’t my preferable place to be. It was interesting to watch and connect from the other side a little bit.

“England are a strong side playing well, so for us it’s about improving as a side, the bigger picture… The focus is on us and wanting to be better,” said Williamson.

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