Watch: In his first innings of note since July, Ben Stokes looked back to his belligerent best, smashing his England teammates all around the Peter Burge Oval in Brisbane in a warm-up game.
Stokes’ 42 was the highest score of England’s last day of warm-up action ahead of the start of the 2021/22 Ashes at the Gabba on Wednesday, December 8, and was filled with the swagger and panache that we have come to expect from one of England’s finest all-rounders. Having taken an extended break from the game before the Test series against India to manage his mental health and fully recover from a badly broken finger, Stokes’ unbeaten 56-ball knock will come as a significant boon to the tourists’ hopes of claiming a first Ashes win Down Under since 2010/11.
While England’s other batters struggled – Rory Burns’ unbeaten 37 was the only other score of note – Stokes looked like his usual self. Mark Wood was twice driven off the back foot through the off-side, with Stokes reserving particular punishment for Craig Overton, persistently sashaying down the track to flog the medium pacer, and capping his innings off with a glorious lofted stroke straight back over the Somerset man’s head.
England’s warm-ups have been largely ruined by rain, with the game descending into farce by the end. Both Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow batted twice, each making 0 and 11, with no scorecard available for the last day’s play due to the casual nature of the game. However, in the form of Stokes there is at least one positive to take.
Watch Stokes sparkle in the England warm-up below:
Ben Stokes doing his thing with the bat in England's final Ashes warm-up 😍pic.twitter.com/YansvDWxX1
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) December 3, 2021