Stokes hits stride after rain abates to allow play
The Guardian|December 03, 2021
Cricket
Ali Martin

The importance of Ben Stokes to England’s Ashes campaign can scarcely be overstated and so the allrounder’s first outing in the middle for four months was a significant moment for Joe Root’s men as they prepare for next week’s first Test at the Gabba.

Stokes makes England’s strongest XI as a batter alone but when fit to send down his brawny fast-medium he offers a balance that is the envy of most opponents. On their first full day of cricket on tour – technically day three of their final warm-up match against the Lions – figures of two for 31 from 10 overs were therefore encouraging.

A scorecard that saw the understudies close on 226 for four from 78 overs at the Ian Healy Oval in Brisbane (with three players also retiring) was secondary to the news that Stokes reported no ill effects after a protracted spell out for mental health reasons and finger surgery.

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