Stokes hails England openers

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Published: Monday 6th April 2015 by The News Editor

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Ben Stokes starred with the ball on the first day of England’s warm-up match in St Kitts, but it was the runs of Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott that pleased him most.

England dominated against a modest St Kitts & Nevis XI, dismissing them for a paltry 59 inside 27 overs and then compiling 181 for one in reply.

The quality of the home batsmen made the first innings seem like little more than a glorified net session, though Stokes still impressed with a lively spell that yielded three wickets for 10.

More important for England’s Test prospects, though, was the stand of 158 between Cook (95no) and Trott (72).

Both men needed the comfort of big runs, Cook having been axed from the one-day side on the eve of the World Cup and Trott on his first England appearance since November 2013 – a period that has seen him battle a case of situational anxiety.

He now has the chance to nail down the role of Cook’s opening partner and made a solid start in admittedly favourable circumstances.

“Trotty and Cooky gave them nothing and it will stand us in good stead for the Test matches,” said Stokes.

“The biggest thing for a batsman is time out in the middle. You can do all the training in the nets you want but nothing quite compares to a game and they both did that well today.

Trotty has been great, it is almost like he hasn’t left. To see him go out and score some runs, the way he has been known to for England over the last five years, was really good to see.”

Stokes arguably went over the top in his assessment of Cook’s knock, but with the captain having come under pressure for his lack of major scores, it could yet prove an important effort.

“It was fantastic for Cooky too,” said Stokes.

“He’s been out of the game for a while so to come in and look like the one of the best batsmen in the world, like he once was, was great.

The tempo he played at was fantastic and any bad ball he managed to put it away, which was good to see.”

Published: Monday 6th April 2015 by The News Editor

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