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India vs England: Ben Stokes not interested in milestones as he prepares for 100th Test

India v England, Third Test

Venue: Rajkot Dates:15-19 February Time: 04:00 GMT

Coverage: Live text commentary on BBC Sport website & app with daily Test Match Special podcasts on BBC Sounds

Captain Ben Stokes says his 100th cap is "just a number" as he prepares to become the 16th man to reach a century of Tests for England.

Stokes, 32, will reach the milestone when he leads England in the third Test against India in Rajkot on Thursday.

"Every Test is just as important as the next one," said Stokes. "Then there's the next one, which will be 101 - it's just one more.

"It's a sign of longevity, but 99, 100 or 101 doesn't make much difference."

All-rounder Stokes made his Test debut against Australia in Adelaide in 2013.

He has gone on to have one of the most storied and successful careers in English cricketing history.

"It's just a number," said the Durham man. "I don't want it to sound like I'm not thankful for the opportunities I've had, but with milestones, it's not done until it's done."

Stokes announced his arrival in Test cricket with a century in only against his second match, against an Australia attack spearheaded by Mitchell Johnson on a spiteful pitch in Perth.

Other highlights include an all-round performance to help defeat New Zealand at Lord's in 2015 and an astonishing 258 from 198 balls against South Africa in Cape Town in 2016.

Stokes' crowning glory in Test cricket came in the Headingley Ashes Test of 2019, when his unbeaten 135 dragged England to one of their greatest wins.

Stokes, who also starred in two World Cup final wins in white-ball cricket, became Test captain in 2022 and has revolutionised the England team, leading them to 14 wins from 20 games since he took charge.

"There will be a time when I can reflect a bit more," said Stokes.

"Whilst I'm still playing and wanting to achieve a lot, then driving the team, giving individuals the best platform for them to be successful is where all my thoughts are at the moment."

Stokes' 128 sixes is the most any batter has hit in Test cricket.

With 6,251 Test runs and 197 wickets, Stokes is on the brink of becoming only the third man to do the double of 6,000 runs and 200 wickets after greats of the game Jacques Kallis and Sir Garfield Sobers.

However, a chronic knee injury has hampered Stokes' bowling and he managed only four Test wickets in 2023.

He had surgery in November and will not bowl during the series in India, but is bowling in training in the hope he can play a full role as an all-rounder in the home summer.

On Tuesday he said he bowled three overs at roughly "70% intensity".

"It's little and often now," said Stokes. "We don't have a plan with where I go with my intensity. It's just how I feel at the time, but also not getting too far ahead.

"The rest of my body has to get up to speed with bowling and this was another step forward."

Stokes confirmed England have named a 12-man squad for the third Test, with pace bowler Mark Wood added to the XI beaten in the second Test in Visakhapatnam.

England named only one specialist seamer in each of the first two Tests, but the Rajkot pitch looks to have a covering of green grass.

Wood could come in to partner James Anderson, with one of spin trio Shoaib Bashir, Rehan Ahmed or Tom Hartley making way.

The five-match series is poised at 1-1 with three matches remaining as England look to become the first team since 2012 to win a Test series in this country.

"It sets it up for a good series," said Stokes. "If we play cricket to the best of our ability then we know the results will look after themselves."