Ben Stokes remembers late father after ‘special’ century against West Indies | England in West Indies 2022

Ben Stokes reflected on one of the most memorable hundreds of his career at the close of day two in Barbados, with the all-rounder putting West Indies to the sword in fine style after a year of personal difficulties.

The England vice-captain’s incendiary 120 from 128 balls in Bridgetown was his first century since the passing of his father, Ged, in late 2020. It also hinted at a return to his best form after he took a four-month break from the game last summer and then struggled on his return in Australia.

Though keen to heap praise on others – chiefly Joe Root’s latest score of 153 with the bat, a stylish 91 from Dan Lawrence on the opening day and a maiden Test wicket for the debutant, Matthew Fisher – Stokes opened up about the celebration that followed his 11th Test century.

“It was a very special feeling,” said Stokes, after he blitzed 11 fours and six sixes. “Of the hundreds I’ve got personally, that’s probably one of the more memorable ones with everything that’s gone on over the last 18 months.

“I got 99 in India last year and it was a bit of a dagger in the heart but it was nice to get there and remember [his father] that way. I don’t like to speak selfishly but it was a nice feeling to look up to the sky.”

Stokes was typically positive about England’s prospects when West Indies resume on 71 for one this morning, 436 runs in arrears. This was prompted by a couple of balls from Jack Leach that misbehaved, including a grubber that saw Shamarh Brooks given out lbw on the field, only for it to be overturned due to an inside edge.

He added: “We’d have liked a couple more but signs are quite exciting. I don’t want to be eating my words here but I can’t see it getting any better. I think the spinner is in the game and the seamers feel in the game too.”

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During 150.5 punishing overs in the field for the hosts there was at least a milestone for Kemar Roach to remember, with the wicket of Joe Root the 236th of his Test career. Only six West Indian bowlers have taken more, the 33-year-old having now overtaken his fellow Bajan, Sir Garfield Sobers, on home soil.

“It’s amazing,” said Roach. “It’s good to be among the greats.

“To write my name on the wall above Sir Garry is a fantastic achievement. There’s no better place to do it, this is the home of cricket in the Caribbean.”

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