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Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes has not played a Test for England since the final Test against India in Ahmedabad in March

Ben Stokes took two wickets on his return to action as England finally began their last Ashes warm-up match against England Lions in Brisbane.

The all-rounder dismissed Zak Crawley for 45 and Chris Woakes for 13 in claiming 2-31 from 10 overs.

It was Stokes’ first appearance since he took a break from cricket in July to protect his mental wellbeing.

The Lions closed on 226-4external-link at the Ian Healy Oval, the first two days of the four-day match having been washed out.

Alex Lees made 37, James Bracey 34 and Tom Abell 32 – all retired hurt to allow others batting practice – while England captain Joe Root and Liam Norwell took a wicket apiece.

Stokes was part of the England side for the opening three-day tour gameexternal-link, but did not take to the field as only 29 overs were possible because of rain.

The five-Test Ashes series against Australia begins on Wednesday at the Gabba.

Sledging will not get personal – Woakes

England all-rounder Chris Woakes says he does not expect the controversies that have overshadowed both team’s build-up to the Ashes to be used as sledging.

English cricket is still reeling from allegations of institutional racism made by former Yorkshire spinner Azeem Rafiq, while Australia’s preparations have been disrupted by Tim Paine’s resignation as Test captain over a historical investigation into sexually explicit texts which he sent to a female colleague in 2017.

“Whatever goes on the field, goes on the field, and an Ashes series raises that rivalry,” said Woakes.

“I think what’s happened in both camps, a lot of the issues are personal and cricket is played best when that sort of stuff is left to the side and we let the skills do the talking, which I’m sure will happen.

“In my experience, playing in three Ashes series, it’s not overstepped the line once when I’ve been around.

“I don’t see it being any different. I’m sure the cricket will be hard fought, as it always is, and it will be a great series to watch.”

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