Almost 13,000 spectators at Riverside Ground will miss their local hero Stokes in action and also his battle with West Indies all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite that was one of the defining moment in the 2016 World T20 final at Eden Gardens.
Brathwaite, now West Indies Twenty20 captain, was in the middle of an 8,000-mile round trip for this match alone after not being selected for the Test and one-day worldwide legs of the tour. "We want to play against the best possible side available to play in order to try and improve our game. Our consistency levels have been up and down so it's all to play for tomorrow".
But he, Joe Root and Morgan fell in successive overs to leave England 68-4 - a wobble steadied by Buttler and Bairstow, their 50 stand brought up in glorious fashion as the latter drove Pollard over wide long-off for six.
"It's one of their strengths", he said.
England legend Ian Botham criticised the decision in a column for the Daily Mirror earlier in the month, saying: 'I feel for the people at the club who have put in so much hard work around this game and built a lot of our promotion around Ben'.
Brathwaite is only making a brief stopover in England, captaining his country in Saturday's one-off T20 in Durham then heading home, and he is happy to take a hands-off approach to leadership. The guys have the freedom to go out and express themselves, make their own calls.
"We played Windies in March and Ben bowled at Carlos.he got him out in the last game". Liam Plunkett, Chris Jordan and Tom Curran, who was impressive in his first two matches against South Africa, will probably spearhead the seam attack and David Willey should come in to consideration too following his recovery from injury.
Windies squad: C Brathwaite (captain), R Beaton, C Gayle, E Lewis, J Mohammed, S Narine, A Nurse, K Pollard, R Powell, M Samuels, J Taylor, C Walton, K Williams. Spinner Sunil Narine picked up 2-15 and England was bowled out for 155 with three balls to spare.