Ben Stokes has gone absolutely berserk in his return to the County Championship, breaking countless records on his way to 161.
England cricketer Ben Stokes went absolutely berserk in his long-awaited return to the County Championship, breaking countless records on his way to 161 (88) against Worcestershire on Friday.
One week after being unveiled as England’s 81st Test captain, the Durham all-rounder smacked 17 sixes and eight boundaries as he guided the visitors to a mammoth first-innings total at New Road.
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The 30-year-old reached triple figures in just 64 balls on day two in Worcester, smacking five consecutive sixes off teenager spinner Josh Baker.
It was the fastest century for Durham in first-class history and his first triple-figure score for the club in nine years.
Stokes was on 70 at the start of Baker’s 20th over, but smacked 34 runs in six deliveries to bring up his 20th first-class century in stunning fashion.
He narrowly missed out on joining an illustrious list of cricketers to hit six sixes in an over, with the final delivery landing agonizingly short of the boundary rope.
Stokes scored 46 runs from eight balls during one particularly damaging spell of his demolition — he went from 50 to 100 in just 17 deliveries.
He returned to the sheds unbeaten on 147 off 82 balls — the most runs for a batter before lunch in the County Championship since 2005 — but showed no signs of slowing down after the interval, slapping his first delivery of the afternoon session for six.
Stokes’ 17 sixes broke the all-time record for most scored in a County Championship innings, bettering the 16 struck by Andrew Symonds for Gloucestershire in 1995 and Graham Napier for Essex in 2011.
The left-armer hit more sixes in two hours against Worcestershire than England’s entire squad managed during last summer’s Ashes series.
Durham teammate David Bedingham brought up a century of his own at the other end, but his classy knock was completely overshadowed by the newly-appointed England Test captain.
Bedingham was 81 not out when Stokes arrived at the crease, and remained unbeaten on 119 at lunch.
Stokes was eventually dismissed by leg-spinner Brett D’Oliveira, caught at deep mid-wicket by Jack Haynes in the 127th over.
Durham declared at 6/580, with opening batter Sean Dickson reaching triple figures earlier on day one.
Last week, the England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed that Stokes would replace Joe Root as England Test captain ahead of the 2022 home summer.
“I am honored to be given the chance to lead the England Test team,” Stokes said in a statement.
“This is a real privilege, and I’m excited about getting started this summer.
“I want to thank Joe (Root) for everything he has done for English Cricket and for always being a great ambassador for the sport all across the world. He has been a massive part of my development as a leader in the dressing room, and he will continue to be a key ally for me in this role.”
Stokes has represented England in 79 Test matches, scoring 5061 runs at 35.89 and taking 174 wickets at 32.12.
The 30-year-old has scored 11 Test centuries since making his international debut in 2013, twice being named Wisden’s Leading Cricketer in the World.
England, currently reeling at the bottom of the World Test Championship ladder, has won just one of its 17 most recent Tests.
Their next scheduled Test match is against New Zealand, Stokes’ country of birth, at Lord’s on Thursday, June 2.
Originally published as Ben Stokes blasts record-breaking century in County Championship demolition