Ben Stokes joined Moeen Ali and Joe Root in the centurions club as he smashed a blazing ton on the second day of the first Test against India in Rajkot. This was Stokes’ first hundred against India and his fourth overall. (SCORECARD)
Stokes, whose previous three innings against India were 0,0 and 0, batted aggressively at the start of day two. He tackled both pacers and spinners confidently and ensured that the Indian bowlers did not maintain pressure.
After crossing fifty, Stokes had two chunks of fortune. On 60, Stokes edged a short and wide delivery from Umesh Yadav but the wicketkeeper, Wriddhiman Saha, dropped it. In Umesh’s next over, Stokes again edged a short delivery and Saha dropped it again.
The left-hander shared a magnificent 99-run stand with Jonny Bairstow, who scored at a brisk rate. Both batsmen ensured that the Indian bowlers never settled and the run-rate during the first session was comfortably over four.
On 92, Stokes had some more good fortune as he top-edged a slog sweep off Ravindra Jadeja but the ball landed just out of the reach of Virat Kohli at mid-on. On 97, Stokes miscued a lofted shot off Ashwin but the ball once again landed safely at deep cover for a single
Despite losing Chris Woakes and Adil Rashid cheaply, Stokes held his nerve and notched up his century by drilling Ravindra Jadeja through the covers for a boundary.
After going past his century, Stokes opened up by launching Amit Mishra for a six but he struggled with cramp as the day wore on. He was eventually dismissed for 128 by Umesh Yadav as he caught down the leg side by Wriddhiman Saha. His knock ensured that England reached 537 all out, their third-highest score in Tests in India.