England are back in the series – and Ben Stokes is back in the game.
The Durham all-rounder, who bowled impressively in Sunday’s opening one-day international defeat to New Zealand in Hamilton, wasted no time in building on that as he claimed the man-of-the-match award in a comprehensive six-wicket win earlier today.
Stokes starred at the picturesque Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui, where Alex Lees was based last winter during his spell of cricket with Bay of Plenty.
Stokes has taken all the headlines for the wrong reasons of late, but today he claimed two wickets and finished 63 not out off 74 balls as the visitors chased down a target of just 224 with 12.1 overs to spare.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be back in amongst the team with all the lads and even the backroom staff. I was a bit emotional walking off that field,” said the 26-year-old in only his second international appearance since September.
“I hope this is a stepping stone for things to come in the future.
“The one thing I wanted was to be back and walking out there and representing my country.
“Nothing replicates match bowling, you can’t get that in training. Hopefully I’ve got those cobwebs out. The batting feels in good order, and the bowling will come with time.”