MX23RW : Sunday, February 17 02:23:35

Stokes relieved after second chance against West Indies

Stokes relieved after second chance against West Indies
© Reuters
The England all-rounder joked it was "a good job I didn't take my pads off" after being given out and then recalled on his way to 62 not out.

Ben Stokes kept his composure after being asked to resume his innings in unusual circumstances during day one of the third Test against the West Indies.

England, who have already surrendered the series after back-to-back defeats, were on course for another bad day when Stokes arrived at the crease with the score at 107 for four in St Lucia.

He went on to make 62 not out, with Jos Buttler unbeaten on 67, as a defiant and unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 124 left the tourists with considerably brighter prospects of salvaging some pride.

Stokes, left, celebrates his half-century with Jos Buttler
Stokes, left, celebrates his half-century with Jos Buttler (Ricardo Mazalan/AP)

But the all-rounder had to cope with the disorientating experience of being sent to the pavilion after Alzarri Joseph completed a sharp caught-and-bowled, then recalled to the middle once replays showed the seamer over-stepping.

"I was just sat in my chair and when I heard the shouting I thought someone had got out. It was a good job I didn't take my pads off," he said with a smile.

"I just heard people shouting 'no ball'. It's a first for me and it's probably something they need to get control of.

"In international cricket you shouldn't be walking off, getting into the changing rooms, and then back out there two minutes later. Thank God for technology.

"I had to get myself back into that frame of mind. I could have seen the funny side of it but I also said to myself not to look at it as a big opportunity, just try to let it go and make sure I was not out at the end of the day."

Stokes might have been in light-hearted mood at the close but he did plenty of serious work to push England to 231 for four, their best position of an otherwise miserable series.

He had not even been certain to play 24 hours earlier, after suffering a badly bruised heel, but it always seemed a long shot that the tireless all-rounder would be kept off the field.

"There were a couple of times when I felt it out there, turning and stuff, but when is a sportsmen ever fully fit? We never are," he said.

Stokes has been going through an indifferent period of form with the bat, having scored his last century in August 2017 and lost some of his freewheeling style in pursuit of a more compact game.

There were signs of the old Stokes strokeplay at the Daren Sammy Stadium and he revealed that was down to a rewatch of his 85-ball hundred against New Zealand at Lord's four years ago – the fastest ever ton at the home of cricket.

"I thought I was a bit stuck over the last couple of months but watching myself at Lord's this morning did me the world of good," he said.

"I actually got our analyst to get up the game against New Zealand. I've been working with Ramps (batting coach Mark Ramprakash) to go back to a technique similar to that. I think in the back of my mind, watching myself do well with a certain technique I could just take that with me.

"It worked well. I've said before that would be the catalyst if I was ever not doing so well."


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