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Joe Root hails heroic Ben Stokes as England keep West Indies series alive


The Wisden Trophy remains alive thanks to Ben Stokes, who batted, bowled and fielded himself into the ground for the series-levelling win.

The sight of Stokes hobbling to slip midway through an over with the job all but done would have caused some concern, but he was simply exhausted and it is not hard to understand why.

A total of 254 runs, three wickets and a catch is an astonishing return, no England player has ever contributed as much in a match and it was more than enough to help his side to a 113-run win.

He is all things to this team and the least skipper Joe Root could do was finish off his over and let him take a break after setting such an example.

Ben Stokes performed further heroics to help England level the series

“It doesn’t surprise me to see what Ben does,” said Root. “If you look at how he goes about his business in training and with his fitness.

“He wants to keep getting better and better and we’re seeing the results on the field. He puts the hard yards in and we are seeing it feed into the rest of the team too.”

With quick runs required, the morning couldn’t have gone much better with Stokes leading the way with 78 not out from just 57 balls.

It allowed Root to declare on 129-3 and set the Windies a fanciful 312 to win, but more importantly provided his side with 85 overs with which to bowl them out.

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In the end it took 70 overs to do so, and they were made to work hard for the win, but of course they had Stokes in their side and that made all the difference.

Joe Root and Jason Holder fist bump at the end of the test

Just as in the first innings when he got rid of Kraigg Brathwaite for 75, in the second he did for Jermaine Blackwood for 55 to break open the partnership that was easing the Windies towards the Wisden Trophy retaining draw they were looking for.

Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes had made perfect use of the new ball to reduce the tourists to 37-4 soon after lunch, but with the shine disappearing and the ball softening life became a little harder until Stokes appeared again.

He got stuck into the battle with Blackwood and Shamarh Brooks, and such is his force of nature it was almost inevitable that he would win even after a lung-bursting sprint to try and save a boundary three balls earlier.

Where Stokes leads his teammates follow and the rest of the attack played their part with Sam Curran, Dom Bess and Woakes chipping in and chipping away at their target.

England will fancy their chances in the third Test at Old Trafford

Woakes may not be quite as influential or heralded as Stokes, but he is a bloody good all round cricketer as his 100th Test wicket illustrated when Shane Dowrich was trapped lbw for nought.

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He has now completed the 1,000 run and 100 wicket Test double, and in fewer matches than Stokes, Andrew Flintoff and even the great Sir Garry Sobers.





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