Ben Stokes, the England all-rounder, scored an unbeaten 62 on day one of the third and final Test against the Windies to guide his side to 231/4 at stumps.
Stokes, 27, has struggled with his batting form recently, adding scores of 34, 0, 11 and 14 in the first two Tests of the series. He revealed how he went back to the drawing board before the final game in St Lucia, working to imbibe the technique he had used to score a century against New Zealand in 2015.
“I watched myself score a hundred against New Zealand at Lord’s before this game to remind myself of a technique where I’d done well,” Stokes said after the game on Saturday, 9 January. “That is a catalyst for how I want to play.
“I was just trying to find the right tempo between being too aggressive and being too defensive. I think I was a bit stuck over the last couple of months, but watching the video this morning did me the world of good.”
Stokes’ century at Lord’s came off just 87 deliveries. He was in terrific form in that game, having also made a 94-ball 92 in the first innings. “I’ve been thinking about going back to that technique: straightening my feet up and batting with an off-stump guard,” he explained.
“I’ve been working with Mark Ramprakash (the batting coach) on it for the last couple of days. I was just trying to find some levelness: not being too aggressive, but not being too defensive. I thought I had been a bit stuck over the last couple of months.”
An unusual incident took place midway through his innings in St Lucia. He walked off the field after being caught and bowled off Alzarri Joseph at 52 in the 70th over. However, a belated no-ball check from the umpire showed the pacer had overstepped. Subsequently, Stokes was recalled from the dressing room to resume his innings.
“I’ve never been in the changing room and called out to bat again, that is a first for me,” he admitted. “I was just sat in my chair with my pads on and then I thought someone had got out because of all the shouting, but then the shout was ‘no-ball and you’re in’ so just bizarre.
“I had to get myself back into the right frame of mind out there. I had to try and let it go and make sure I was not out at the end of the day.”