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Stokes record innings power England to 2-1 series lead


London, Sept 14

A record innings of 182 by Ben Stokes, the highest ODI score by an England batsman, took England to a daunting total of 368 which proved beyond New Zealand as they went down by 181 runs in the third of four ODIs. Facing 124 balls, Stokes gave a wonderful display of powerful strokes which brought 9 sixes and 15 fours.

Faced with the task of chasing a large total, New Zealand lost early wickets with the first three falling in successive overs. Will Young was held behind mistiming a hit to long off in the fifth over and in the next over Devon Conway was trapped plumb in front of his stumps by Reece Topley. Then Henry Nicholls moved across and played his shot into the hands of forward short leg.

Before New Zealand had the chance to make a recovery the fourth wicket went on 37 with Chris Woakes adding to the two wickets he had already bagged. He dismissed Tom Latham for 3 with an excellent ball that he brought in sharply.

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A useful stand of 46 between Glenn Phillips and Rachin Ravindra took the score to 116 for six when Ravindra was beaten on 36 by Moeen Ali’s off-spin. Phillips went on to pick up runs but on 173 New Zealand lost two wickets, Kyle Jamieson and then Phillips.

The latter, after an excellent 72 from 76 balls with 5 fours and two sixes, fell leg before to Liam Livingstone who eventually finished with 3 for 16, mopping up the innings on 187 with the last two wickets.

Earlier, England having been asked to bat first on a fine batting pitch, began poorly losing the first two wickets for 13 in 2.4 overs. The first wicket fell on the first ball with Jonny Bairstow flicking a catch to backward square leg off Trent Boult who then, in his next over, had Joe Root play-on for 4.

However, England didn’t have to wait long for a recovery which came in a hard-hitting third wicket partnership between Dawid Malan and Stokes. Both batsmen went for their shots early with Stokes in particular batting aggressively. New Zealand went on to use seven bowlers in total but none made an impression on either batsman as they went on to pile up the runs.

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The hundred of the England innings came in 16.2 overs with Malan driving Phillips beautifully through covers for four to get to 48. Stokes had raced to 47 when Malan reached his fourth ODI half century.

The second hundred of the England innings took just 10.4 overs before Malan was unlucky to miss his fifth ODI century by just four runs when he was held off Boult. That ended a brilliant stand of 199 in 27 overs. Stokes kept on the rampage reaching the quickest of his four ODI centuries from 76 balls including 11 fours and three sixes.

Along with Jos Buttler, Stokes added 78 of which Buttler had 38 before his low pull was held at mid-wicket and he was given out after the third umpire had a close look for a back foot no-ball and that was 290 for four. Yet another six, over long-on, by Stokes took England past 300 in 39.4 overs and he reached 150.

He went on to beat Jason Roy’s 180 scored against Australia in Melbourne in 2016 with his last scoring shot, a six again over long-on off Ben Lister before the same bowler had him held at square leg two balls later with England’s total 348 for six in 44.3 overs at that stage.

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