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Stokes lights up Lord’s quickfire ton as Cook hits form

Stokes lights up Lord’s quickfire ton as Cook hits form

LONDON: Ben Stokes scored the fastest-ever Test hundred at Lord’s, while England captain Alastair Cook weighed in with a less spectacular but equally valuable century of his own as the hosts fought back against New Zealand on Sunday.

England were 429 for six in their second innings at stumps on the fourth day, a lead of 295 runs, despite having been outplayed for much of this match, the first of a two-Test series.

Cook was 153 not out — his fourth and highest Test century at Lord’s — after Stokes had struck a truly thrilling hundred against the country of his birth in just 85 balls, including 15 fours and three sixes.

Only three sides have scored more than 200 in the fourth innings to win a Test at Lord’s.

West Indies, inspired by Gordon Greenidge’s double century posted 344-1 in 1984, while England have twice done it against New Zealand, with 282-3 in 2004 and 218-3 in 1965.

England were in trouble when they lost Ian Bell, caught behind off a Tim Southee outswinger, to Sunday’s third ball without adding to their overnight score to be 74 for three.

But Cook, whose century saw him extend his England Test record to 27, shared partnerships of 158 and 132 with Joe Root (84) and Stokes (101) respectively.

Root, out for 98 in the first innings, again missed out on a century but Stokes followed his first-innings 92 with his second Test century but first in England following the all-rounder’s 120 against Australia in Perth in 2013.

Earlier, Cook scored his second hundred in as many Tests after he ended a near two-year-wait for a Test ton with 105 against the West Indies in Barbados earlier this month.

It was also his first ton on home soil since his 130 against New Zealand at Headingley in 2013 and saw the 30-year-old Cook extend his England record for Test centuries to 27.

As the ball became older, things got tougher for New Zealand’s quicks, while off-spinner Mark Craig was ‘milked’ for 54 runs in 10 overs after lunch.

But Root fell into an obvious hooking trap when he holed out to Trent Boult at long leg off Test debutant fast bowler Matt Henry.

England were now 232-4 with the match very much in the balance. But Cook drove Henry for three to complete a 206-ball century featuring 12 fours.

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum wasted no time in taking the new ball, with overcast conditions also promising to make batting difficult.

However, Stokes, the Christchurch-born but England-raised son of former Kiwi rugby league international Ged Stokes, responded with two hooked sixes off successive Southee deliveries.

The second was dropped by substitute fielder Doug Bracewell, clearly worried about stepping over the boundary rope.

But when Southee pitched short next over, Stokes pulled him for a far more convincing six and next ball drove him down the ground for four.

Southee’s first six overs with the new ball were savaged for 53 runs.

Left-arm paceman Boult also got the Stokes treatment, driven down the ground for four as the 23-year-old went to 99.

Then a single though midwicket saw left-hander Stokes to a stunning hundred as he bettered the 87-balls taken by India’s Mohammad Azharuddin for a Test century at Lord’s in 1990.

But trying to thrash Craig, Stokes was caught by Ross Taylor at slip.

In Stokes’s stand of 132 with Cook the skipper’s share was just 21, but the opener was still unbeaten at stumps after more than eight-and-a-half hours at the crease.

On Saturday New Zealand were bowled out for 523 before England lost debutant opener Adam Lyth for 12 and Gary Ballance for a duck.

B.J. Watling’s unbeaten 61 took New Zealand past 500. Broad, Wood and Moeen took three wickets each.


ENGLAND (1st Innings) 389 (J.E. Root 98, B.A. Stokes 92, J.C. Buttler 67, Moeen Ali 58; T.A. Boult 4-79, M.J. Henry 4-93).

NEW ZEALAND (1st Innings):

M.J. Guptill c Ballance b Broad70 T.W.M. Latham lbw b Moeen 59 K.S. Williamson c Ballance b Moeen 132 L.R.P.L. Taylor c Buttler b Broad 62 B.B. McCullum c Root b Wood 42 C.J. Anderson c Buttler b Wood 9 B.J. Watling not out 61 M.D. Craig lbw b Moeen 0 T.G. Southee c Wood b Anderson 11 M.J. Henry c Root b Wood 10 T.A. Boult c Anderson b Broad 0

EXTRAS (B-26, LB-34, W-6, NB-1) 67

TOTAL (all out, 131.2 overs) 523

FALL OF WKTS: 1-148, 2-148, 3-337, 4-403, 5-420, 6-470, 7-470, 8-493, 9-515

BOWLING: Anderson 29-7-88-1 (5w); Broad 26.2-4-77-3 (1w); Wood 27-2-93-3 (1nb); Stokes 21-2-105-0; Ali 26-4-94-3; Root 2-0-6-0.

ENGLAND (2nd Innings, overnight 74-2):

A. Lyth c Southee b Boult 12 A.N. Cook not out 153 G.S. Ballance b Southee 0 I.R. Bell c Latham b Southee 29 J.E. Root c Boult b Henry 84 B.A. Stokes c Taylor b Craig 101 J.C. Buttler c Latham b Henry 14 Moeen Ali not out 19

EXTRAS (B-2, LB-10, W-5) 17

TOTAL (for six wkts, 118 overs) 429

FALL OF WKTS: 1-14, 2-25, 3-74, 4-232, 5-364, 6-389.

BOWLING (to-date): Boult 28-5-71-1; Southee 29-4-129-2 (1w); Henry 29-3-106-2 (3w); Craig 28-3-96-1 (1w); Anderson 3-0-13-0; Williamson 1-0-2-0.

Published in Dawn, May 25th, 2015

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