Stokes fails to fire again for Canterbury

Ben Stokes second innings for Canterbury was an improvement on his first

So, it's not looking good for England, however, it's not looking much better for Stokes either, who is now playing his cricket in New Zealand.

"We've been playing some good one-day cricket and Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy at the top of the order have played well", the England coach, Trevor Bayliss, said. But whenever he comes back, that's going to be a bit of a circus for sure. It remains to be seen if Stokes and Hales are allowed to participate in what could be a gruelling series for the visitors.

Match-winning all-rounder Stokes is not now part of England's ongoing Ashes Test tour as he waits to discover if he will be charged after his arrest on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm during a late-night fracas in Bristol on September 25.

But Stokes's involvement "remains subject to any relevant legal or disciplinary developments in relation to the incident in Bristol in September".

Hales may continue to pay some price though, with Bayliss indicating incumbents Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow will likely open when the series starts in Melbourne. "We've got to take a decision now and I just think the best way to go is with the two guys who have taken over".

"We could bring Hales back in and drop one of those guys down, but then it would upset someone else". Whether it's any more of a circus than it's already been, it's hard to say. "I can't see any changes there personally".

The England all-rounder, who scored just two and went wicketless on his debut on Sunday, made 34 from 41 balls and again failed to take a scalp as Canterbury fell to a seven-wicket defeat to Auckland.

"The ECB Board has convened via conference call to make the decision after being informed that Hales is deemed a witness and will face no charges". We won't know it actually until it comes along.

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