Ben Stokes’ brilliance breaks West Indies down to level Test series for England
Ben Stokes’ brilliance took a familiar spot in centre stage as England levelled their series against the West Indies with a 113-run victory late on the final day of the second Test.
Stokes produced his second sensational knock of the match, backing up his first-innings 176 with an adrenaline-fuelled 78 not out that cemented a dominant lead of 311, and picked up two important wickets as England finished their opponents off for 198.
Stuart Broad, who conjured a superb three-wicket blast with the new ball, had suggested his side could “take a risk” with their morning declaration but Stokes ensured no such gamble would be necessary.
Having been bumped up to open on Sunday evening for the first time in his professional career, he pounded 62 from 39 balls to claim the lion’s share of an 11-over onslaught that added 92 runs to the lead.
That left 85 overs to bowl the tourists out and they did it in just over 70, Broad leading from the front while Chris Woakes, Stokes, Sam Curran and Dom Bess all played their part in a strong team effort.
Bess finished things off just as the rain-affected game entered its final hour but England may yet reflect on Stokes’ dismissal of Jermaine Blackwood with the final ball of a wearying afternoon session as the turning point.
He was injured late on, pulling up mid-over but refusing to leave the field, and his availability for Friday’s series decider could yet provide further intrigue.