After confirming that Yorkshire batsman Harry Brook would replace the injured Jonny Bairstow in the series finale against South Africa, England captain Ben Stokes expressed excitement about the prospect of Harry Brook making his Test debut.

Brook was the only change to the England team that levelled the three-match series with a commanding victory in the second Test at Old Trafford after Bairstow was ruled out due to a freak leg injury sustained while playing golf.

Bairstow has been in excellent form this season, scoring 1 061 runs and hitting six centuries.

It’s amazing how sometimes opportunities present themselves to people… He deserved to be on the team in the first place, and he deserves to be on it again this week.”

The captain expressed his “devastation” for Bairstow, who will also miss the T20 World Cup in Australia, which begins next month.

“He’s been a huge reason for us having such a successful summer,” he said. “It was a freak occurrence.”

“The way our middle order has been playing this summer, I feel as if Harry coming in, the way he goes about his game with the bat in his hand is pretty much a like-for-like replacement,” all-rounder Stokes added.

“He’ll always look to take the bowling on, the positive option.” It’s obviously devastating not to have Jonny, but I’m thrilled we’ve found a replacement with Jonny’s talent.”

Brook, 23, has represented England in four Twenty20 internationals.

South Africa won the first Test at Lord’s by an innings and 12 runs, only for England to respond by an innings and 85 runs in Manchester during another three-day match.

“We know South Africa will always stay in the game and stay in the moment,” Stokes said.

“We put the Lord’s defeat behind us and focused on Manchester, and I know Dean (Elgar, Proteas captain) and the South African team will do the same here.”

“I think it’s fantastic for the series that it’s down to the wire.” I know South Africa will come out swinging, but it will be how we respond to the questions they throw at us.”

Team England:

Zak Crawley, Alex Lees, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (captain), Ben Foakes (wkt), Stuart Broad, Jack Leach, Ollie Robinson, and James Anderson are the players who made up the England squad.

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