Ben Stokes: England all-rounder’s blistering century against West Indies sees him join exclusive club | Cricket News

Ben Stokes’s stunning 114-ball hundred on day two of the second Test in Barbados sees him become just the fifth man in history, after Sir Garfield Sobers, Jacques Kallis, Sir Ian Botham and Kapil Dev, to do the double of 5,000 runs and 150 wickets in Test cricket

Last Updated: 03/18/22 11:28 am


Ben Stokes celebrates after his 114-ball century, his 11th in Test cricket for England

If you are going to join an illustrious group of cricketing legends, then you really want to do it in style.

That’s exactly what Ben Stokes did as he became just the fifth man in history, after Sir Garfield Sobers, Jacques Kallis, Sir Ian Botham and Kapil Dev, to do the notable double of 5,000 runs and 150 wickets in the heat of the Test arena.

One ball he was on 4,997 Test runs, the next he was up to 5,003, as he etched his name in the history books by smoking a stunning six off Alzarri Joseph over long-on while stood on one leg.

That maximum came during a 20-run over – which had started with Stokes firing three fours in a row off the paceman – amid a longer, quite astonishing onslaught as the influential all-rounder took England from a dominant position in the second Test to a potentially unconquerable one.

As Stokes pummelled the helpless Joseph and Veerasammy Permaul with slog-sweeps, reverse-sweeps and mighty blows down the ground, he raced from 23 after 55 balls to 87 off 89. He plundered 64 runs from 34 deliveries in that period, with four sixes and eight fours. It was blistering batting.

Speaking on BT Sportformer England and Surrey player Mark Butcher said: “What strikes you being in the stadium is the noise the ball makes when it comes off Stokes’ bat and disappears out of the ground. It is like an Indiana Jones whipcrack.”

Stokes’ landmark-clinching six off Joseph ensured he now shares a statistical achievement with Messrs Botham, Sobers, Kallis and Dev – and he is arguably as important to his team, perhaps even more, than that quality quartet were to theirs.

Stokes is very much the pulse of this England team – the man who steps up in times of crisis, or as was the case in Barbados on Thursday, steps on the gas when there is a game to be advanced.

We know that from his sparkling 2019 summer of World Cup glory and Ashes heroics, when he kept his team afloat on both occasions before accelerating to earn them famous victories.

There was no crisis at Kensington Oval, with England already in command of the Test having begun day two on 244-3 on a flat deck, but Stokes still showed tremendous game management.

Ben Stokes struck as many as 11 fours and six sixes during his stunning 128-ball stay at the crease

Ben Stokes struck as many as 11 fours and six sixes during his stunning 128-ball stay at the crease

Starting his innings sedately with the new ball only five overs old and the West Indies seamers refreshed after a night’s sleep, Stokes seldom found the fence across the first nine overs.

He hinted at what was to come with two fours in the space of four balls during the innings’ 99th over, bowled by Kemar Roach, but it was after drinks when he truly went into red-hot mode, a reverse-swept four off Permaul cementing his and Joe Root’s fifty stand and triggering the ambush that was to come.

Permaul’s next ball was sent sailing into the stands and the scenes that followed were reminiscent of his brutal double century at Cape Town back in 2016 as he took his runs tally in the session to 89.

Stokes went back down the gears after Root’s dismissal shortly after lunch but then up them again when Bairstow fell – tonking Kraigg Brathwaite for successive sixes before his dazzling innings ended one delivery later as he was caught on the boundary.

Ben Stokes looks to the heavens after scoring his first Test century since the passing of his father Ged in December 2020

Ben Stokes looks to the heavens after scoring his first Test century since the passing of his father Ged in December 2020

For people watching, it’s likely one of Stokes’ strokes was the highlight but for the man himself it would have been the hundred moment itself as he reached three figures for the first time in an England shirt since the passing of his father Ged in December 2020 .

The look to the skies and the traditional folded-finger celebration showed exactly who he was dedicating that century to.

“I don’t like to speak selfishly but it was nice out there to look up to the sky and say ‘cheers’,” Stokes told reporters after the day’s play.

“Of the hundreds I’ve got that’s personally one of the more memorable ones because of everything that’s gone on over the last 18 months or two years.”

Ged’s passing has come amid a challenging period for Stokes, who also took time away from the game in 2021 in order to prioritize his mental health and fully heal a finger injury he had been carrying since the IPL earlier in the year.

It was unsurprising, then, that he looked short of a gallop during England’s dismal Ashes campaign over the winter, a tour in which he averaged less than 24 with the bat, over 71 with the ball and was hampered by a side strain.

But Stokes seems back to his best and his fittest now, whether that be bowling tireless spells, as he did in the first Test against West Indies, or by repeatedly punishing the ball to the boundary with the bat, as he did with abandon on day two of the second.

The knock saw him join an illustrious group of cricketing legends but, for England, Stokes is truly one of a kind.

West Indies and England will resume the second Test at 2pm UK time on Friday. Follow over-by-over text commentary from 1.45pm on skysports.com and the Sky Sports app.

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