Author Topic: Ben Stokes draws comparisons to Andrew Flintoff  (Read 554 times)


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Ben Stokes draws comparisons to Andrew Flintoff
« on: July 31, 2017, 04:37:13 AM »
Ben Stokes saw his intimidating style of fast bowling draw comparisons with one of his predecessors, Andrew Flintoff, following a electric burst of two wickets in two balls that put England on course for victory over South Allen Craig Authentic Jersey Africa in the third Test.
The tourists will resume the fifth day at The Kia Oval on 117 for four with Dean Elgar (76) and Temba Bavuma (16) at the crease, needing to bat out 98 overs to avoid defeat. Joe Root’s side are thus six wickets away from going 2-1 up in this topsy-turvy series and retaining the Basil D’Oliveira Trophy before the final Test next week.
After England had set South Africa an improbable 492 to win the Test by declaring at 313 for eight at tea on the fourth day, Stokes was destroyer-in-chief for the new captain. He cleaned up Quinton de Kock’s stumps with a searing yorker before trapping Faf du Plessis lbw first ball in a spell that reminded his team?mate, Stuart Broad, of another talismanic England all-rounder.
“That was as quick as I’ve seen him bowl,” said Broad, who had earlier claimed the initial breakthrough by bowling the opener Heino Kuhn in the sixth over of South Africa’s rearguard. “It was an intimating spell, a bit like Andrew Flintoff used to bowl – heavy and at the batsman. It was great to get two key batsmen out with genuine pace and exciting to be on the field.
“With Stokesy, he’s a better cricketer when he is in a battle and fired up – the team are learning how to get him in that mode more often. He’s such a great competitor and he has that steely, focused look about him. He was pumped up for that spell and made a big difference.”
On the prospects of victory, Broad said: “You back yourselves to get six wickets on a day-five pitch. It has shown signs of variable bounce and as soon as the sun comes out it has played better for the batsmen. But you have always felt in the game with the ball.”
Stokes himself cited the scalp of Hashim Amla – removed by Toby Roland-Jones for the second time in what has so far been an impressive six-wicket debut by the Middlesex seamer – as one of the two key moments in the evening session but warned Elgar, nursing a badly bruised Carlos Gonzalez Womens Jersey index finger, and Bavuma could yet frustrate England on the final day.
He told Sky Sports: “Amla and De Kock are probably the two wickets we look at as being the main ones for us to try and get on a roll, so its nice to see the back of them already. But we’ve got two fighters still at the wicket at the moment, in Elgar and Bavuma, so hopefully conditions are similar tomorrow and we can get them out early on.”
England’s dominant position, built on the back of a first-innings 353 compiled in bowler-friendly conditions and through Stokes’s fifth Test century, has once again demonstrated how inconsistent they remain following the hammering in Nottingham. Broad, among the senior players, puts it down to Root’s call for extra intensity in training.
He said: “It’s been a focused week for us. We put Trent Bridge behind us and didn’t dwell on it too much and that first day was an example of some lessons we have learned. We are a naturally attacking team but we showed we can rein it in a touch. I suppose the big test now, if we win here, will be next week.
“Root asked the team to make sure our intensity was high in training and that leads you into a Test match well. With back-to-back games, when bowlers tend to rest up a bit, can we match that again?”