Stokes Hits Century As Windies Improved

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Ben Stokes defied a much-improved West Indies with a superb century before James Anderson struck late on day one of the second Test at Headingley.
Arriving at 71-4, Stokes counter-attacked in thrilling fashion, reaching his sixth Test hundred off 122 balls.
He was dropped twice, including the ball before making his century by Shannon Gabriel, who removed Stokes for 100 as the hosts were all out for 258.
Anderson snared Kieran Powell as the tourists closed on 19-1, 239 behind.
Following a dismal showing in the first Test at Edgbaston, West Indies bowled menacingly in the first two sessions, inspired by Kemar Roach (4-71) and returning fellow fast bowler Gabriel (4-51), to edge an engrossing first day.
However, they will rue dropping four catches in total and a ragged spell
after tea that helped England – who lead the three-match series 1-0 – recover from
yet another fragile top-order display.
England’s batting flaws were exposed again but Stokes belied his team-mates’ struggles with an enjoyable innings of power and poise.
He had to grind at the start but found fluency by getting onto the front foot to hit thumping cover drives, reaching his half-century with one that whistled to the fence.
The longer his innings went on, the better Stokes looked, deftly punching down the ground and also charging the fast bowlers to clip forcefully through mid-wicket in hitting 17 boundaries in total.
It was far from a chanceless knock – Brathwaite’s drop was tough but catchable, Gabriel shelled a very simple chance at mid-on with Stokes on 98, while there was also an inside edge that dropped short of wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich.
But in the context of where England were when he came to the crease, this was perhaps Stokes’ most important Test century.
In his five previous hundreds, England’s lowest score when the Durham man arrived at the crease was 120-4 – this innings underlining how the vice-captain is thriving on increasing responsibility. 

Arriving at 71-4, Ben Stokes counter-attacked in thrilling fashion, reaching his sixth Test hundred off 122 balls.

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