Ashes exile Stokes fails with bat for Canterbury

Ben Stokes (Getty)
Ben Stokes (Getty)

Wellington - Suspended England star Ben Stokes's highly anticipated return to the crease was over almost as soon as it began in New Zealand on Sunday.

Playing in a limited overs match for his birth province Canterbury against Otago, Stokes only faced seven balls before he was bowled for two.

It was the all-rounder's first match in 69 days amid speculation he is preparing for a dramatic Ashes call-up.

But while England are playing before a 55,000-plus crowd in the second Ashes Test against Australia in Adelaide, Stokes turned out for Canterbury at a village ground on the outskirts of Christchurch with a crowd of about 1,000.

Canterbury, batting first, were in trouble at three down for eight when Stokes was bowled.

The 26-year-old has maintained he was in New Zealand on a family visit and just wanted to "do well, and contribute to Canterbury winning".

Stokes is currently banned from international cricket while British authorities probe his alleged involvement in a late-night fight outside a Bristol nightclub.

He has missed the first two Ashes Tests, which include a 10-wicket defeat in the opening encounter in Brisbane. The third Tests starts in Perth on December 14.

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