Millennium Post

Ben Stokes, Bairstow punish South African bowlers

England all-rounder Ben Stokes hit a thrilling double century as he and Jonny Bairstow battered the South African bowlers into submission on the second day of the second Test at Newlands on Sunday.

Stokes slammed 258 and Bairstow made 150 not out before England declared on 629 for six. The pair shared a world Test record sixth wicket partnership of 399.

A bad day for South Africa got worse when Stiaan van Zyl was run out in the third over of their reply. South Africa were 24 for one at tea.

The left-handed Stokes thrashed 30 fours and 11 sixes in a 197-ball innings. He reached his double century off 163 balls, the second fastest in Tests behind Nathan Astle’s 153-ball effort for New Zealand against England at Christchurch in 2001/02.

He reached 250 with a six off Kagiso Rabada to become the fastest to the mark in Tests, beating Virender Sehwag’s effort for India against Sri Lanka in Mumbai in 2009 by 11 balls.

With a declaration imminent, Stokes pounded the next delivery into the stands for another six before, in trying to hit a third, he skied the ball to AB de Villiers at mid-on. De Villiers dropped it but ran out Stokes with a direct hit to the bowler’s end.

The South African bowlers had no answer to a relentless assault, which started with 45 runs scored off the first four overs of the day, bowled by Morne Morkel and Chris Morris. The left-handed Stokes needed only 12 balls to go from his overnight 74 to his third Test century, which he made off 105 deliveries with 16 fours and a six. He quickly went past his previous highest Test score, 120 against Australia at Perth two seasons ago.

South African captain Hashim Amla was soon forced to place fielders on the boundary on both sides of the wicket but Stokes continued to power the ball past them. By the end of the first hour, which yielded 103 runs off 13 overs, there were five men on the boundary.

The two hours before lunch yielded 196 runs despite South Africa bowling only 25 overs. Stokes made 130 of them off 74 balls, a new record for individual runs scored before lunch on any day of a Test. He beat the 123 by Leslie Ames for England against South Africa at The Oval in 1935.

Although he was overshadowed by Stokes, Bairstow played a fine innings in registering a maiden Test century off 161 balls. He then followed Stokes’ example by going on an all-out attack to go to 150 off only 30 balls with 18 fours and two sixes.

South Africa’s malaise was summed up when Morkel dropped Bairstow on 138. The batsman drove Morris to long-off and the ball went through Morkel’s hands.

De Villiers, another senior player in a largely inexperienced team, followed suit when he dropped Stokes, although De Villiers made amends by picking up the ball and running out Stokes. South Africa made a bad start when Van Zyl pushed James Anderson into the covers and set off for a run. He was sent back by Dean Elgar and Nick Compton’s throw to wicketkeeper Bairstow beat him comfortably.
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