October 27, 2020

‘Stokes is Mr Incredible – we are in the presence of greatness’

Highlights as Ben Stokes impresses in England’s second test victory over the West Indies.

Captain Joe Root called Ben Stokes “Mr Incredible” after the all-rounder put in another match-winning performance for England in the second Test against West Indies at Emirates Old Trafford.

Across the match, Stokes scored 254 runs and took three crucial wickets and a catch as England levelled the series.

“He just seems to get better and better,” said Root.

“We are watching a player at the peak of his powers, at the peak of world cricket, delivering time and again.”

He added: “We have to savour that and understand we are in the presence of greatness.”

Stokes smashes quickfire 78 for England

Stokes, 29, made a careful 176 in the first innings at an empty ground before being promoted up the order to open as England looked for quick runs in the second.

He responded by cracking the fastest Test half-century by an England opener, from 36 balls, in his 78 not out off 57 deliveries.

He also took crucial wickets on the fourth and fifth days, bowling long spells of sustained, hostile, short-pitched bowling on a largely unresponsive surface.

“It would be very easy for us to not appreciate how good a performance this was because of the lack of atmosphere in the ground,” said Root.

“He will have thoroughly enjoyed this week.”

Stokes’ display in Manchester is the latest in a growing list of stellar performances.

In the last year alone, he has been named man of the match for dragging England through in the World Cup final, played one of the all-time great innings to defeat Australia at Headingley and inspired England to victory over South Africa in the second Test in Cape Town.

He is the current International Cricket Council player of the year and Wisden’s leading cricketer in the world.

“He can keep performing at this level and I’d love to see him get better,” said Root. “The sky is the limit for him.

“To have such a complete game, with so many different gears at his disposal, allows him to get better.”

Stokes’ exploits helped England to a 113-run win over West Indies that levelled the series at 1-1 and set up a decider at the same ground, which begins on Friday.

“We’ve all got an understanding of what we represent, the role models that we are,” he said.

“We want to pave the way for cricketers in 20 years’ time. It’s not all about the present. Inspiring the next generation is a big thing for us.

“We know we have a duty on the field to win games, but we also understand that we have a duty to all the youngsters that aspire to be in the position that we are.”

Serious commitment – Stokes sprints to save boundary off own bowling