Connect with us

Sports

‘Controlled’ Ben Stokes shows England the way with century as hosts take charge against South Africa in Manchester

Published

on

theheute-

Friday was always going to be a big day for Ben Stokes.

It was the day his candid documentary Phoenix from the Ashes was released, a film in which he goes into granular detail about the difficulties he has faced over recent years. From the Bristol incident to the death of his father. Suffering debilitating panic attacks. Taking anxiety medication.

But he also had a big job to do on the field against South Africa after striding to the crease with his side still four runs behind and five wickets down after Proteas paceman Anrich Nortje had dismissed Zak Crawley and Jonny Bairstow caught behind during a searing five-over spell.

It was a job he performed to perfection as he and fellow centurion Ben Foakes helped England carve out a first-innings advantage of 264.

Advertisement

There seemed a chance Stokes’ knock would be over shortly after it had begun when an apparent twinge of the knee – a joint that has been giving him gip all summer – left him grimacing.

Treatment did the trick, though, and he carried on with an innings in which South Africa’s bowlers occasionally got the treatment.

There were nine boundaries in Stokes’ 103 from 163 balls – six fours and three sixes. So, yes, it was an innings of belligerence at times but beauty, too, And brains. A perfect balance of attack and defence.

It was the sort of innings we have seen Stokes play numerous times over the years, just not this summer.

The consensus has been that Stokes has been too frenetic of late, too eager to lead from the front and get this forward-thinking England side ahead of the game by sacrificing himself. Kevin Pietersen even said Stokes was “devaluing his wicket” after one febrile cameo against India.

Advertisement
ALSO READ  Rite Foods clinches ECOWAS Award on Sausage Production

But this was different. The intent was there – see sixes over the leg-side off Simon Harmer and a gorgeous straight four off Lungi Ngidi after skipping down the pitch. There was no timidity. But there was a patience. A willingness to get himself in before getting on with it.

Stokes took 101 deliveries to reach his half-century – the milestone clinched with one of the sixes off Harmer – but then just a further 57 to reach three figures. His strike rate for the innings was 63.19.

Game-advancing but also example-setting.

Sky Sports Cricket expert Kumar Sangakkara said: “It was an incredible innings, not just in the context of the game but in the context of the messaging around how this team should be playing in this new culture.

“I spoke to Brendon McCullum this morning and he was very bullish about being positive but not reckless and it was a great example by the captain, the leader of setting the tone.

Advertisement

“He mixed aggression with smartness. The longer this English team commit to this process, they will learn and become smarter.”

Sangakkara’s fellow Sky Sports pundit Michael Atherton added: “I was impressed with Stokes. There has been conversation about his batting, which has sometimes gone too far to the aggressive side, but I thought he played in a really controlled fashion.

“Earlier in the summer, he perhaps didn’t get that right or wanted to say to the team, ‘this is how we are going to play’. But when he came down the pitch here, it was controlled. He wasn’t coming down to have a big wahoo.

ALSO READ  Transfer: Villarreal star excited, open to join Mikel Arteta at Arsenal

“There was certainty and calmness, a better tempo to his game. He soaked up the pressure and then moved through the gears.”

Stokes, speaking to Sky Sports on Saturday morning, said: “We have been vocal with how we want to play and me being captain and leader of that, it was more showing lads it was okay to go out and do certain things.

Advertisement

“I am a massive believer in leadership showing that and not expecting anyone else to do something you wouldn’t do.

“We got an understanding of the wicket. It didn’t feel like a wicket where you could stand there and hit through the line. Some balls were bouncing, some balls were skidding, there was reverse swing.

“But when we do have that positive mindset to score it makes things a lot easier. I went out there with the intention to get on the front foot and take scoring opportunities and it made my decision-making a lot easier.”

Foakes, who scored an unbeaten 113 and shared a 173-run stand with Stokes for England’s sixth wicket, said of his skipper: “Everyone wants a piece of Ben but the way he played was pretty special.

“Ben was quite clear – he said ‘we can absorb as well, this is a difficult phase. Let’s make it up and score where we can, let’s be busy, but don’t do anything stupid’. That’s what we went with.”

Advertisement

On the day Stokes’ documentary displayed his importance to England off the field, his batting showed how vital he is for them on it.

ALSO READ  Manchester United agree £85m deal to sign Antony from Ajax

Sports

Olise’s late strike gets Palace point against United

Published

on

Michael Olise has helped Crystal Palace get a point against Manchester United in their 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park Stadium on Wednesday night.

The midfielder’s late strike in extra-time, 91′, levelled the game against United, who had controlled the lead since the 43rd minute of the first half after Bruno Fernandes’ fine finish put the Red Devils ahead just before the break.

A relentless Olise scored from a free kick with a left-footed shot to the top right corner. The equalising goal saw United’s dream of replacing defending EPL champions City in the second place on the league table, fade away, as they remain third with 39 points, having played a game more than City.

Crystal Palace remains in 12th place with 23 points.

Advertisement

copyrighyt @punchnewspaper

ALSO READ  2023: I will quit politics with Buhari, won’t join PDP – Ex-SGF, Lawal
Continue Reading

Sports

Atletico Madrid head coach speaks on leaving Atletico Madrid

Published

on

Atletico Madrid head coach, Diego Simeone, has insisted that nobody has personally told him to leave the club.

Rumours have persisted that Simeone, 52, could be set to end this 11-year stay at Atletico Madrid at the end of the season.

However, the Argentine has now stated that no one at the club has asked him to quit the La Liga giants.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of Atletico Madrid’s Copa del Rey tie with Levante on Wednesday night, Simeone said when asked about reports suggesting he would leave the club at the end of the season: “No one has personally asked me to leave.”

Advertisement

However, having already been eliminated from UEFA Champions League and sitting 13 points behind leaders Barcelona in the La Liga table, the Copa del Rey is Atletico Madrid’s last realistic opportunity for a trophy this season.

It has been a disappointing campaign for Simeone’s side, as they sit fourth in the league.

Simeone added, “The boys are enthusiastic to reverse this situation that we have experienced since the break and prior to the World Cup. It’s been a regular to a bad season. For me, there is growth after the break, hopefully, we will continue in that line.”

Advertisement
ALSO READ  WhatsApp restores service after Nigeria, UK, 12 others experienced disruption
Continue Reading

Sports

EPL: Frank Lampard won’t run away – Shaun Wright-Phillips

Published

on

Former Chelsea player, Shaun Wright-Phillips has backed his former teammate, Frank Lampard to stay at Goodison Park and turn things around.

Wright-Phillips said his former team-mate does not run away from challenges such as Everton is facing now but would face them squarely

Lampard is in danger of being sacked any moment from now after yet another defeat on Friday.

Everton crashed out of the FA Cup on Friday after they were beaten 3-1 by Manchester United at Old Trafford

Advertisement

Frank Lampard has now led Toffees to six defeats in their last seven matches and they have also crashed out of the Carabao Cup and are currently 18th in the Premier League.

“Frank Lampard has always been a player and a person that won’t run away from things not going well,” Wright-Phillips told the BBC.

“He is the type of person to try and solve it or try and make the situation a lot better…”

Advertisement
ALSO READ  Rafael Nadal crashes out of US Open
Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2022 TheHeute.