Mark Stoneman comes highly recommended to England for his Test debut – by one of their own who has found out to his personal cost all about the Surrey opener’s credentials.

Chris Woakes may find himself playing alongside Stoneman this week at Edgbaston, where the latter is inked in as Alastair Cook’s 12th opening partner since the retirement of Andrew Strauss five years ago.

Woakes, meanwhile, is hoping to make his international return from injury as he tries to inch out Toby Roland-Jones as third seamer.

It is a 50-50 call whether that happens as the Warwickshire all-rounder himself admits his recall is perhaps unlikely from a 13-man squad to play a part in England’s inaugural day-night Test on his home ground.

Woakes is far more certain that Stoneman has the ability to frustrate West Indies’ pace attack in the three-match Investec series, set to get under way on Thursday afternoon.

It was as a Durham batsman, before his prosperous move south to Surrey this year, that Stoneman made Woakes aware of his potential – in particular with a county championship century at Chester-le-Street two summers ago.

“I’ve played quite a bit against Mark over the years … (and) I know he has been in fantastic form,” said Woakes.

“He is a tricky guy to bowl at – particularly for an opening batsman, he hits the ball in quite funny areas.

Chris Woakes has only played one first-class match since suffering a side strain (Martin Rickett/PA)
Chris Woakes has only played one first-class match since suffering a side strain (Martin Rickett/PA)

“You always find your natural length has to change a bit to him.”

Stoneman’s ability to attack off the back foot was a problem for Woakes, already an established international seamer when he was unable to stop him hitting 112 – and making a lasting impression.

“That good, solid length, he actually picks up quite well … (he’s) a good puller of the ball.

“He’s a good player in good form, (and I’m) really pleased he has been selected.

“He takes advantage when you’re not quite on it as a bowler.

Mark Stoneman is set for his England bow later this week (John Walton/PA)
Mark Stoneman is set for his England bow later this week (John Walton/PA)

“Sometimes that can be the worst case for a bowler … you want a batsman who will leave a few balls, not climb into them.”

West Indies may be wise to take heed, although Woakes notes the task facing Stoneman has already confounded a team full of previous contenders.

“He is tough to bowl at, but I think the fact he is Alastair Cook’s 12th opening partner since Andrew Strauss goes to prove just how hard it is and how good Cooky has been.

“It is a hard job at the top of the order, and sometimes you’re going to get some good ‘nuts’.”