Stokes puts England in driving seat

Published: Monday 6th April 2015 by The News Editor

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Ben Stokes struck twice in his second over as England made a bright start to their first tour match in the West Indies.

Facing a modest St Kitts & Nevis Invitation XI at Warner Park, England were asked to bowl first and soon took the upper hand.

After an hour’s play the hosts were struggling on 32 for three.

James Anderson had the first success of the trip when he outclassed Sherwin Peters with a ball that left the outside edge and clipped off stump.

It was a deserved scalp after both Anderson and Stuart Broad beat the bat on a handful of occasions without joy.

Stokes took over from Broad in the 10th over and wasted no time in announcing his return to England colours.

The Durham all-rounder, who was left out of the World Cup squad, had 16-year-old Ross Powell held at slip for six and two balls later saw Shane Jeffers chip a soft catch to Gary Ballance at point.

England named 12 players in their side, with Liam Plunkett, Mark Wood, Jonny Bairstow and Adam Lyth sitting out.

With a maximum of four days’ play before the first Test in Antigua that was surely a nod to their preferred starting XI – good news for Jonathan Trott and Stokes in particular.

Both spinners, Adil Rashid and James Tredwell, were included but may be battling for one place.

Stokes continued to make an impression in an eye-catching spell, taking his third wicket moments after a drinks break.

Steve Liburd was the man to go, following one crunching drive with a loose waft that sailed straight to Cook at slip.

Quite how much England were learning from their flimsy opponents was hard to tell, but Stokes continued to rise above the general standard as a fine inswinger just evaded captain Jacques Taylor’s off stump.

Chris Jordan reduced the batting side to 36 for five with his first wicket, Akeem Saunder offering a simple take for wicketkeeper Jos Buttler.

Jordan had Tredwell to thank for his second, Taylor edging a sharp, low chance that Tredwell gathered with a brilliant one-handed catch at third slip.

Published: Monday 6th April 2015 by The News Editor

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