ALL-ROUNDER Ben Stokes admitted he rode his luck after conducting a brutal assault on the opposition bowling attack and blasting an unbeaten century as England Lions demolished South Africa A in the Pretoria township of Mamelodi yesterday.
The Durham star cracked 15 sixes, including nine from the final 15 legal deliveries he faced, while posting a score of 151 off 86 balls in the tourists’ daunting total of 378-6.
Stokes took 3-51 as England’s second string claimed an 89-run victory and established an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series, although it was the obliterating nature of his batting which caught the eye.
His tally of sixes was only two short of the all-time record for List A cricket set by Namibia’s Gerrie Snyman in 2007, and is thought to be a record for an England player in any form of the game, although Stokes remained unstirred by his big-hitting antics.
“It was just one of those innings where everything went my way, I guess,” he said. “I was quite lucky that the boundary was quite small. Probably on a normal-sized pitch I would have been out a couple of times.
“I haven’t had an innings like that. It’s just hard work I guess. I work on that a lot in my training. I always make sure I have a sensible net to start with but then have 10-15 minutes at the end where I try and clear the boundary.”
Stokes was included in England’s 30-man provisional squad for the World Cup but was dropped after the fourth of seven one-day internationals in Sri Lanka during December and failed to make the final cut.
“Obviously it was disappointing news but I just came here to play some more cricket,” added Stokes. “I didn’t come here with a point to prove to anyone, I just came to make my game better.”