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Ton-up Ben Stokes has a blast for Durham

Ben Stokes took down Worcestershire’s bowlers at New Road (David Davies/PA)
Ben Stokes took down Worcestershire’s bowlers at New Road (David Davies/PA)

Ben Stokes clattered a 64-ball hundred for Durham in his first innings since being appointed England Test captain, reaching the milestone with five successive sixes at New Road.

Stokes, who was announced as the successor to Joe Root last week, is making his first appearance in this season’s LV= Insurance County Championship following a knee injury in the tour of the West Indies.

He walked to the crease with Durham in the ascendancy on 360 for four on the second morning of their clash against Worcestershire and further strengthened their position with a boundary barrage.

Ben Stokes, left, was in terrific form on Friday morning (David Davies/PA)
Ben Stokes, left, was in terrific form on Friday morning (David Davies/PA)

The left-hander took just 47 balls to reach his half-century but went into overdrive thereafter as his second 50 took only 17 deliveries, with teenage slow left-armer Josh Baker coming in for punishment.

The first five deliveries of Baker’s 20th over were muscled over the boundary rope by Stokes, who raised his bat after the fifth to celebrate reaching three figures, having clubbed 10 sixes in total.

It was only part of the story as Stokes was one blow away from emulating Sir Garfield Sobers, the only batter in championship history to hit six sixes in an over, having done so for Nottinghamshire in 1968.

But Stokes ultimately was left thumping his pads with his bat in frustration after merely hitting a four, sparing Baker from joining ex-Glamorgan seamer Malcolm Nash in an undesirable club.

Baker was unsurprisingly hooked from the attack but Stokes’ freewheeling batting continued as he went to lunch on 147 not out from 82 balls – including 15 sixes – to help Durham to a mammoth 549 for four.