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The Ashes: Issues Mounting For England To Add To The Pain Of Nail-Biting Loss In The Opener

There's plenty of things for Stokes to ponder while he attempts to get over an agonizing loss that puts England in a tough position in the series. The English must win it to regain the Ashes because a drawn series would see Australia retain the urn.

Trailing 0-1 in the 5-match series, England must go on the attack to win at least two Tests.
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Losing the opening match of the series in a final-day nail-biter isn't England's only concern at the start of the Ashes. (More Cricket News)

In fact, issues already are mounting for captain Ben Stokes.

Stokes himself came into the series with lots of scrutiny about the state of his left knee — and he only bowled seven overs in a desperate bid to win the match for England late in the fourth innings at Edgbaston. Indeed, he barely celebrated dismissing Australia opener Usman Khawaja.

Is the knee still affecting him?

Moeen Ali, the replacement for injured spinner Jack Leach, has a problem now, too, because of a blister on his spinning finger that led to him dropping out of England's attack at times in both innings.

Then there are a couple of selection dilemmas that have cropped up.

Jimmy Anderson, England's most successful bowler of all time, had a poor Test by his standards and wasn't trusted with the new ball in those key final overs Tuesday as Australia squeezed out a two-wicket win.

Will taking only one wicket in two innings at Edgbaston lead to the 40-year-old Anderson getting dropped for next week's second Test at Lord's, with the likes of Mark Wood, Chris Woakes and newcomer Josh Tongue as options?

There might also be a conversation to be had about the wicketkeeper, too, after a couple of dropped catches and a missed stumping by Jonny Bairstow proved costly.

Bairstow was recalled after injury and replaced Ben Foakes, a specialist behind the stumps, in the team. Might there be room for both, with Bairstow playing as an out-and-out batter?

That's plenty of things for Stokes to ponder while he attempts to get over an agonizing loss that puts England in a tough position in the series. The English must win it to regain the Ashes because a drawn series would see Australia retain the urn.

Stokes' team, then, must go on the attack to win at least two Tests. That fits England's new approach just fine.

“The way in which we applied ourselves, literally from ball one, proves we are able to stand up to Australia in the way in which we want to play,” Stokes said. “There was a big question before coming to the series about how we are able to still continue with the style of play against such a good Australian team. Even though we were on the wrong end of the result, I think it proves we literally went toe-to-toe throughout the whole game against Australia. We have four games left and that's what we're going to be concentrating on.”

Former England captain Nasser Hussain has questioned whether “Bazball” — as England's new style has been labeled — was the optimal way to play in the Ashes.

"Remember, we've beaten Australia in England since 2001 playing the old-fashioned way — we didn't need Bazball' to beat Australia," Hussain told Sky Sports.

“The only thing I'll say is they (the Australians) showed why they're World Test Champions and the No. 1 side in the world. They've got some serious players and some seriously tough players as well.”

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