Ben Stokes was pleased that he was able to take advantage of some good fortune to record his sixth Test century at Headingley on Thursday (August 25). Stokes was dropped on nine and 98, both relatively straightforward chances, and made Windies pay by helping England to a score of 258 which keeps them in the game and which was more than they probably should have got. Joe Root was also badly missed when on just eight and the two catches cost the visitors 142 runs in all.
“It’s always nice to [take advantage],” said Stokes after play. “You get some luck every now and again and to do well you need that on your side. Getting dropped, you put it to the back of your mind. Another day they hold it and you’re walking off. I don’t think you can take too much from the dropped chances.”
The first miss was by Kraigg Brathwaite at second slip off Kemar Roach which, although rising to the fielder’s right, should have been taken. The second was a horrible drop by Shannon Gabriel at mid-off which would have been regulation at most levels of the game. Stokes admitted the shot on 98 was a “brain fart”.
“I thought their seam bowling unit bowled a lot better than they did at Edgbaston. They made it hard work for us. The conditions were more in the bowlers favour. There was always a bit of seam movement and every now and then the ball swung.”
Stokes was eventually dismissed by Gabriel, gloving an attempted hook and the bowler had a few words for the batsman as he walked off. “It’s not the first time,” Stokes joked. “It’s part of the game. He was probably annoyed at himself for dropping me on 98. There’s nothing to it. It’s international sport. There’s no worries with it whatsoever.”
England’s top order once again failed as the hosts were reduced to 71 for 4 at one stage with Mark Stoneman, Tom Westley and Dawid Malan all again failing to convince. “These guys who are playing at the moment are in this team with the runs they’ve scored through first-class cricket,” said Stokes. “They’re all class players in their own right. New guys are only ever one knock away from being a good player. The best way of learning is by playing.” Via