Ben Stokes enjoys valuable batting practice during Ashes warm-up match

Ben Stokes

Ben Stokes backed up from claiming two wickets on the second day of England’s final warm-up match ahead of the Ashes to score 42 runs from 56 balls against England Lions in Brisbane.

The Lions had set a total of 226 for four at Wellington Point in Queensland, with England responding during Friday’s final day with Stokes’s contribution and 37 more from opener Rory Burns.

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Chris Woakes took an early wicket for the Lions as Haseeb Hameed fell for seven, while Dawid Malan and Joe Root also departed for single-figure scores of eight and nine respectively.

England and Australia’s preparations for the five-Test series, which begins at the Gabba on December 8, have been undermined by rain.

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England’s three-day practice match last week was washed out except for 29 overs and the first day of the second warm-up against the Lions was also cancelled without a ball bowled.

Stokes led the charge with a match-winning 135 not out in England’s astounding one-wicket win over Australia at Headingley in 2019, an innings that has entered cricket folklore.

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Yet by that stage he had already made a telling impact with his lively fast-medium bowling, taking three wickets to keep England — dismissed for just 67 in their first innings — in the game.

“He’s a bit of a freak to be able to produce match-winning performances like that. He’s the ultimate team man, will do everything for every single player,” said England skipper Joe Root.

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That stupendous innings in Leeds came just over a month after Stokes won the man-of-the-match award for an unbeaten 84 in the World Cup final at Lord’s, where England triumphed against New Zealand.