Stokes masterclass tears Proteas apart

Ben Stokes (Gallo Images)
Ben Stokes (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Things could not have gone worse for South Africa at Newlands on Sunday morning.

It was a display of aggressive batting and clean hitting that is not often seen in Test cricket, and one that the Proteas certainly wouldn't have been too accustomed to.  

And, unfortunately for Hashim Amla and his men, Ben Stokes' 204* - off just 167 balls - has put the second Test match firmly in England's control. 

At lunch the visitors were 513/5 - having been 317/5 overnight - and the Proteas will have to bat long and deep if they are to get back into this match and, ultimately, the series. 

England scored a remarkable 196 runs in an opening session that lasted 26 overs. 

Stokes himself scored an unfathomable 130 runs in the session.

There was no response from the South African bowlers. 

Stokes, who was 74* overnight, made his intentions clear early on Sunday morning when he dispatched Morne Morkel to the ropes twice in the opening over of the day. 

Then, the very next over, he hit debutant Chris Morris to the fence three times before bringing up his century in the 91st over. 

Jonny Bairstow (95*) at the other end was also in a positive mood, and while he played second fiddle to Stokes' masterclass, he cruised past 50 and played some delightful shots along the way. 

Stokes was simply unstoppable. 

His century came off 105 balls, and just 10 overs later he smashed Dane Piedt for a straight six to bring up his 150 off 135 balls. 

That shot also brought up the 200 partnership between Stokes and Bairstow. It came off just 195 balls and in 159 minutes, and it is was in all probability the killer blow to end South Africa's chances of leveling the series in Cape Town.

Stokes didn't stop there.

He freed his arms whenever he was given the chance ... and sometimes even when he wasn't given the space.

And, just 22 minutes after bringing up their 200-run partnership, Stokes and Bairstow passed 250. 

That came after Stokes smashed Piedt for 4, 6, 6 in the 105th over.

But the big moment came in the 109th over when Stokes hit Morkel through mid-wicket for four, bringing up his double century in the process, and also England's 500.

It was an absolute masterclass from the England all-rounder, who scored his second 100 runs in just 58 balls.

England have been craving a devastating Test all-rounder ever since they lost Andrew Flintoff. If Stokes' display on Sunday morning is anything to go by, then that search is over. 


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