Stokes leads Lions to series win

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Published: Monday 2nd February 2015 by The News Editor

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Ben Stokes gave the national selectors a stunning reminder of his talents with a brutal century and three wickets as England Lions beat South Africa A by 89 runs to wrap up the one-day series.

Durham all-rounder Stokes, who was in England’s 30-man provisional squad for the upcoming World Cup but controversially failed to make the final cut, clubbed 15 sixes and seven fours as he scored an unbeaten 151 off just 86 deliveries at the Mamelodi Oval in Pretoria.

Jason Roy (67) and Sam Billings (56) also weighed in with half-centuries as the Lions ran up a daunting 378 for six after being sent in to bat in the fourth unofficial one-day international.

Stokes then showed his skills with the ball, taking three of the final four South Africa wickets to fall as the hosts were bowled out for 289 in the 43rd over, leaving the Lions celebrating an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.

Mark Wood and Boyd Rankin finished with two wickets apiece with Dean Elgar (79) and Chris Morris (58 not out) leading the South African run chase.

The hosts battled valiantly to try to reach their target, but they could not find anybody who could match the remarkable batting of Stokes, who came to the crease with the Lions wobbling at 123 for three and proceeded to put on a six-hitting masterclass.

Nine of his maximums came off the last 15 balls he faced – including four in the final over off Test-capped Marchant de Lange – and more than once the left-hander’s missiles flew out of the small ground and into the township of Mamelodi.

And when it all came to an end, the 23-year-old’s tally of 15 sixes in an innings was just two short of the all-time record for List A cricket set by Gerrie Snyman for Namibia in 2007.

Stokes found a kindred spirit in Billings, who scored his 56 off just 33 balls as the pair put on 132 inside 12 overs for the fifth wicket to power the Lions past the 300-mark.

South Africa rarely looked like chasing their target down despite most of their batsmen getting starts and, fittingly, it was Stokes who wrapped things up as he finished with figures of three for 51 off eight overs.

Having drawn the two four-day matches against South Africa A, the Lions will now look to finish unbeaten on tour when they play the final one-day match in Benoni on Thursday.

Published: Monday 2nd February 2015 by The News Editor

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