International Sport

Stokes adopts simple mantra to flay South Africa

Image: England’s Ben Stokes celebrates scoring a double century with Jonny Bairstow during the second cricket test match against South Africa in Cape Town, South Africa, January 3, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings


By Mark Gleeson
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – Ben Stokes’ reaction to his record-breaking day with the bat was almost as nonchalant as his approach in scoring 258 to help England to a stunning 629 for six declared in the second test against South Africa on Sunday. 

“See ball, hit ball is the only way to describe it,” he told reporters after helping England from 317 for five overnight to a massive second-day score with a bludgeoning display that had the Newlands crowd enthralled.

Stokes, who resumed on Sunday on 74, had not scored more than 21 in his previous seven test innings for England, and had only managed one 50 in his last 13 test knocks.

“I felt a little bit of pressure coming into the game with not having too many runs under my belt in the tests before this,” he said.

“It meant more emotion than I usually show when I got to 100 but I just tried to keep on going and wasn’t really thinking of any landmarks as I went along.

“I just tried to hit as many boundaries as I could because it was too hot to run,” he joked.

Stokes scored a test record for a number six batsman and starred in a record sixth wicket partnership of 399 runs with Jonny Bairstow, who was 150 not out when England declared.

Stokes, who had overcome a shoulder injury suffered on tour with England in October, also hit the fastest 250 (off 196 balls) in test history and the second fastest double century (163 balls).

His tally of 11 sixes was a new test record for an England batsmen.

“I didn’t want to hang around and just nudge my way to 100 because I’d be a little bit annoyed with myself if I took the selfish route,” he said. “I just wanted to get as many runs as quickly as I could.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet, and quite a lot of adrenalin is running through me, but at this moment in time, I don’t know, I’m pretty tired.”

(Editing by Toby Davis)

Copyright 2015 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

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