World Test Championship: Captain Ben Spokes challenges England to attack Blackcaps in final test at Headingley

England test captain Ben Stokes has challenged his team to play without fear and put on a show against New Zealand at Headingley, despite their unassailable 2-0 lead into the final match of the three-match series.

A new era for England in the longest format, spearheaded by the new skipper-coach duo of Stokes and Brendon McCullum, is off to a flying start, with the hosts blasting to victory in the opening two tests.

"We've obviously won the series, but there are World Test Championship points to play form," said Stokes on the eve of the third test. "We want to carry on with the way we've played. 

"I was pretty simple and clear in the dressing room - let's try and think like we're in the entertainment business, rather than the sporting business.

"There's a reason why 20,000 people came out to watch us at Trent Bridge last week, so I set a challenge to the team to be even more fearless, positive and aggressive than last week."

James Anderson, England's record wicket-taker in test cricket, has been ruled out with an ankle problem, with Jamie Overton making his debut after his impressive start to the domestic season with Surrey.

Stokes hopes Anderson can recover for the one-off test against India at Edgbaston, which begins July 1.

"It's unfortunate for Jimmy, but we've got a massive test against India coming up as well," added the all-rounder. "I'm not too sure how serious it is to be honest, he's just got a bit of a puffy ankle.

"[Jamie] fills a different role from Jimmy, but to have someone in your back pocket who can bowl 90 mph [144kph] is big for us. That's the only change this week."

Stokes, 31, took over as captain after Joe Root's resignation in April, which came on the heels of a series loss in the Caribbean and a disastrous Ashes tour of Australia.

He says his team hasn't yet completed a turnaround and their character will truly be tested only after tasting defeat.

"We're still yet to have a bad result," said Stokes. "When things don't go well is when the message we are trying to get across becomes more important."