198 DELIVERIES, 30 FOURS, 11 SIXES
SOUTH AFRICA V ENGLAND, 2ND TEST, CAPE TOWN, 2016
England 629-6dec (Stokes 258, Bairstow 150*) & 159-6 (Piedt 3-38) drew with South Africa 627-7dec (Amla 201, Bavuma 102*)
OPPOSITION ATTACK: Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Dane Piedt, Stiaan van ZylMark Butcher, AOC 116
Cricket writer and historian David Frith was one of only two members of our panel – the other being Bumble – who voted for Ben Stokes at No.1
The thrill came from sensing that Ben Stokes’ amazing assault resembled that witnessed so often by our forefathers when Gilbert Jessop was at the crease. The Gloucestershire man batted like Stokes with regularity, though he played in only 18 Tests, already much fewer than young Stokes.
Jessop was smaller than Stokes but just as chunkily built. He was a right-hander, he had no tattoos, and his hairwas not ginger, and he made just the one Test century: the 75-minute job that set up England’s famous one-wicket victory at the Oval in 1902.
I never saw the Gloucestershire batsman, of course, as my first Test viewing was as recently as 1951. From this it may be deduced that Stokes is the most exciting batsman I’ve ever seen. Well, at least 10 of them are inseparable. Suffice to say that of all the batsmen currently on show around the world, he is the one who excites the greatest sense of anticipation.
‘I JUST GOT GOING AND COULDN’T STOP’
I just got going and couldn’t stop. There were quite a few balls to hit, to get my hands through. Once I got past my hundred I looked at the scoreboard and thought we were in a good position anyway, and decided to just chance my arm. I’d never expected to go out and play an innings like I did at Cape Town, and I probably never will again. I definitely think that will be the one time I play like that, when everything went my way.
Ben Stokes, ‘I Just Got Going And Couldn’t Stop’, AOC 138