Ben Stokes, who is being seen as England’s biggest trump card in this year’s Ashes, was in pretty good flow yesterday in Cardiff as he played a flamboyant innings of 52 and stitched a very good partnership with the centurion Joe Root to take his team to the position of solidity.
Stokes later got a beauty from Mitchell Starc which cleaned him up, but, he had already shown his array of strokes.
Before actually getting dismissed, the left hander was in no trouble whatsoever. He was tight in his defence and whenever he was opting to go for his shots, there was full commitment in that.
The Australian bowlers needed something special to get rid of him and Starc did that with the older ball which was starting to reverse a little bit for him.
He came up with an absolute peach which totally outfoxed Stokes.
It swung in first and then, held its line. Stokes was looking to clip it through the leg side with the swing, but, got deceived and the bells were off.
Had he stayed there, Stokes, with the rate at which he was going and the comfort with which he was putting the balls away, he would have put England in real command at the end of the day, but, it wasn’t to be.
However, there is still quite a big role to play for Stokes in the Cardiff test match. Alastair Cook would be relying on him to bowl a couple of tight spells when his main quicks would need a breather.
Stokes is not that far behind a specialist bowler as far as his abilities with the ball are concerned. He moves the ball both ways.
He has already had a 6-wicket haul to his name against Australia.