17 May 2024

Ben Stokes claims two wickets on Championship return for Durham

17 May 2024

England Test captain Ben Stokes took two wickets for Durham on his first Vitality County Championship appearance for two years.

Stokes, who is hoping to resume duties as a fully-fledged all-rounder this summer following knee surgery, dismissed England Lions skipper Josh Bohannon and New Zealand’s Tom Bruce as he returned to action against Lancashire at Blackpool.

Stokes got through 17 overs and took two for 70, an encouraging sign after playing the majority of the last year as a specialist batter, but it was former team-mate Keaton Jennings who produced the performance of the day.

He hit 115, with 17 fours, as the Red Rose posted 350 for nine.

Seventeen wickets tumbled at the Kia Oval where defending champions and Division One leaders Surrey battled back from a tricky start against Worcestershire.

They were lurching at 15 for four, including three wickets in rapid succession from Joe Leach, before a 148-run stand between England duo Ollie Pope (63) and Dan Lawrence (84) helped them up to 213.

Ball continued to get the better of bat as the sides switched, with Surrey reducing the Pears to 112 for seven at stumps, Dan Worrall taking three for 17.

There were twin centuries at Taunton, where Somerset’s Tom Banton (133) and James Rew (114) shared a fifth-wicket stand worth 205 against Kent.

Beyers Swanpoel struck with his fourth delivery before a run had been scored but things soon got tougher for the bowling side as the score raced along to 440 for seven at a run-rate of 4.58.

Ed Barnard rescued Warwickshire with an unbeaten hundred against Essex at Chelmsford. He came to the crease at 52 for four and finished with 115no in a total of 308 for six. Michael Burgess also dug deep to make 105no in the closing stages.

Sam Cook, one of the leading contenders to benefit from James Anderson’s imminent retirement, took two for 75.

It was slow going at Trent Bridge, where Nottinghamshire reached 212 for nine, Pakistan’s Mohammad Abbas picked up four for 36, with Lyndon James unbeaten on 92.

In Division Two, Yorkshire rolled leaders Sussex for 150 and leaned on Joe Root’s 67 as they made 176 for seven in response. Ollie Robinson led the attack but was overshadowed by Sean Hunt, who claimed three wickets.

Fresh from their first win since 2022 last time out, Gloucestershire were on top again at Leicestershire. Australia captain Cameron Bancroft nailed 160 and Ben Charlesworth made 126 in an opening partnership worth 316, doing the heavy lifting in a score of 385 for two.

Middlesex made a strong start against Glamorgan at Cardiff as Tom Helm’s four for 44 left the visitors 183 all out. Mark Stoneman and Sam Robson then made it 62 without loss in 21 overs before the close.

Northamptonshire finished 297 for five at Derbyshire, George Bartlett top-scoring with 76 with Rob Keogh 75no.

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