Stokes enjoys remarkable reprieve amid England recovery alongside Buttler

By Sports Desk February 09, 2019

Ben Stokes made the most of a remarkable second chance as his unbeaten 62 inspired England's fightback on day one of the third and final Test against West Indies in St Lucia on Saturday.

The all-rounder had reached 52 when he clubbed a return catch to Alzarri Joseph and was all the way back in the dressing room when replays revealed the bowler had over-stepped.

Stokes returned to the fray - switching places with Jonny Bairstow, who had been on his way out to the middle - and along with Jos Buttler (67 not out), guided the tourists to 231-4 at stumps at the Darren Sammy National Stadium.

That represented an impressive recovery from England, who, at 2-0 down in the series and having been put into bat, were toiling badly once again at 107-4 when captain Joe Root was dismissed in soft fashion for 15 shortly before tea.

But Stokes and Buttler came together for an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 124 as two of England's traditionally aggressive batsmen, perhaps in light of recent criticism of the side's approach, reined in their natural game to guide their team to a strong position.

England recalled Keaton Jennings after he was dropped for the 10-wicket defeat in Antigua, but it was an unhappy return for the opener, who ought to have been out twice before he was removed for a painstaking eight from 43 balls.

West Indies opted not to review when he was trapped in front by Kemar Roach, whose anguish was increased two balls later when Roston Chase dropped a chance at slip.

But the introduction of Keemo Paul - replacing suspended captain Jason Holder - paid immediate dividends as Jennings drove loosely at his first delivery and nicked off.

Paul struck again soon after lunch, Rory Burns falling plumb lbw for 29 to a ball that was crashing into the middle of middle - the Windies needing a review to overturn umpire Kumar Dharmasena's not-out call. 

Joe Denly (20) fell in the next over, pinned by Shannon Gabriel, and England were in strife when Root wafted at a wide ball from Joseph and nicked behind.

Stokes survived an lbw shout on umpire's call early in his innings before he and Buttler set about mounting a recovery, bringing up their respective fifties from 84 and 94 deliveries.

Between those milestones, it looked as though their union had been ended by Joseph's superb catch in his follow-through, only for Stokes to be called back to the middle - a welcome rub of the green for an England side that has been a distant second-best in this series.

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    March 24, 2018: During day three at Newlands, television replays begin to emerge of Bancroft rubbing the ball with sandpaper, which he then hides down his whites.

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    March 25: Amid rising condemnation, Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull is scathing in his assessment of the issue, saying the plan to cheat "beggars belief". CA promises to investigate.

    March 25: Shortly before the start of day four, it is confirmed Smith and Warner will relinquish their leadership roles for the remainder of the Test, with Tim Paine taking over as captain.

    March 25: The ICC announces that Smith has been suspended for the fourth Test, although Bancroft is free to play. Australia collapse from 57-0 to 107 all out to lose by 322 runs in Cape Town.

    March 27: Smith, Bancroft and Warner are all sent home from the tour. CA decrees they were the only individuals who knew of the plan. Matt Renshaw, Joe Burns and Glenn Maxwell are called up.

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    March 29: An 'absolutely devastated' Smith breaks down in tears when addressing the media upon his return to Sydney. Bancroft also faces reporters and expresses remorse for his part in the fiasco.

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    March 31: Speaking to the media at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Warner takes full responsibility for his actions while adding he has a "tiny ray of hope" that he will play for Australia again.

    April 6: CA launches a review into "cultural, organisational and governance issues", employing an independent, player-driven panel to advise on future steps.

    April 11: As expected, Smith, Warner and Bancroft are absent from CA's contract list for 2018-19.

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