Ben Stokes smashed 34 runs in an over to reach a 64-ball century for county side Durham on Friday – his first innings since being appointed as England’s Test captain.
The big-hitting all-rounder, who was announced as Joe Root’s successor last week, is making his first appearance in this season’s County Championship following a knee injury on the tour of the West Indies.
He walked to the crease with Durham on 360 for 4 on the second morning of its four-day match against Worcestershire and launched a boundary barrage. The left-hander took just 47 balls to reach his half-century but then went into overdrive, with his second 50 taking just 17 deliveries.
Teenage slow left-armer Josh Baker took heavy punishment.
The first five deliveries of Baker’s 20th over were muscled over the boundary rope by Stokes, who raised his bat after the fifth to celebrate reaching three figures, having clubbed 10 sixes in total.
Stokes was one blow away from emulating West Indies great Garfield Sobers, the only batter in Championship history to hit six sixes in an over, having done so for Nottinghamshire in 1968.
But he was ultimately left thumping his pads with his bat in frustration after merely hitting a four, sparing Baker from joining ex-Glamorgan seamer Malcolm Nash in an undesirable club.
Baker was taken out of the attack but Stokes’ freewheeling batting continued as he went to lunch on 147 not out from 82 balls – including 15 sixes – to help Durham to a mammoth 549 for 4.
Stokes is due to start his England reign in the first Test against New Zealand from June 2 at Lord’s.