Home > Features >

Ben Stokes: England’s sole ray of hope from their disastrous tour of Australia

Ben Stokes was in good form for England in Australia © Getty Images
Ben Stokes was in good form for England in Australia © Getty Images

As the English cricket team has been beaten soundly by Australia in both the Test and One-Day Internationals (ODIs)  Down-Under, it has been a horrible tour for Alastair Cook’s men who have only managed to win a solitary game all throughout the tour. England have looked a pale shadow of the side that had beaten Australia not once but twice in back-to-back to series wins. Vineet Varma looks at what positives England can take from the ODI series.

 

Coming to England’s sole moment of glory in their current Australian tour, this writer rolls his memory back to the fourth ODI at Perth where England were put in to bat by Australia.  The series had already been lost for England as Australia had taken an unassailable 3-0 lead after winning the first three matches convincingly and the match at the Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA) ground was to be considered as a mere formality. But for England, the game was much more than a rubber compete as they were struggling to retain their lost pride. By putting up some semblance of a good show with a huge score of 316 off 50 overs. Mitchell Johnson, who had tormented them throughout the Ashes with his searing pace and bounce was having an off-day and apart from James Faulkner none of the bowlers seemed to trouble the English batsmen.

After Ben Stokes (70) and Jos Butler (71) had helped England reach that huge score, their bowlers led by Stokes (4 for 38) and Tim Bresnan (3 for 45) helped England shoot Australia to 259 all out, thus giving them their first victory on the tour. Though the win can be counted as inconsequential considering the battering England have taken from Johnson and co, there are still some positives for England which will help them in future.

The biggest positive for England throughout the five match series was of course the form of their top two batsmen — Eion Morgan and Ian Bell, who averaged 56  and 41 respectively. They stood out as the lone rangers for Alastair Cook’s side in the batting department. Morgan was the lone centurion for England in the ODIs  and his impeccable 106 at Brisbane was definitely the highlight as he handed the Australian quicks with deftness.

Bell, who had scored 68 in that same match is another player who was amongst the runs for England as he scored another half-century (55) at Perth and restored some pride.

Coming to the bowling and it was the trio of Stokes, Tim Bresnan and Chris Jordan who finished as England’s top bowlers in the series. Stokes, who is 22-years old, was probably the revelation of the tournament as apart from his good show with the bat, he also picked up 10 wickets at an average of 24.50, thus strengthening his case of being a key all-rounder.

Even Bresnan, who picked up seven wickets at an average of 36.85, has proved that he can do justice to the tag of a bowling all-rounder. Thanks to his handy performances with the bat which saw him smash a quick-fire 41 not-out down the order in the Sydney ODI. Other performers include Jordan (six wickets at 42.16) and Stuart Broad (five wickets at 29.60) who also contributed to the English bowling throughout the series and helped them salvage some pride.

Keeping England’s miserable run aside, the biggest positive they have gained  is of course Stokes, who has been their lone ranger with both bat and ball and also finished as his side’s second highest wicket taker (15 wickets at an average of 32.80) and third highest run-scorer (279 runs at an average of 34.87) in the 5-0 Ashes drubbing.

Stokes is a  a beacon of hope for England for the future as they will start to pick up the pieces from this disastrous tour and try and rebuild for the ICC World Cup 2015 to be held in a year’s time.

(Vineet Varma is a writer at Cricket Country. He can be followed @Vinfire19)

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Colombo

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Dhaka

More

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 68 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Sydney

Australia won by 2 wickets (D/L method)

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 22, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 87 runs

Photos

Australia vs South Africa, 3rd ODI at Canberra

Videos

SL vs Eng: Buttler practices wicketkeeping in nets

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014, 2nd ODI at Chittagong: Highlights

Australia vs South Africa 2014, 5th ODI at Sydney: Highlights

Quinton de Kock’s century in vain as Australia register two wicket win over South Africa

Saeed Ajmal: 99 per cent bowlers will fail 15 degree test

Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Haque register second-highest opening partnership for Bangladesh in ODIs

Australia Australia vs South Africa Australia vs South Africa 2014 Bangladesh Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014 India Pakistan South Africa South Africa tour of Australia 2014 South Africa vs Australia South Africa vs Australia 2014 Zimbabwe Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh 2014 Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh 2014

India vs Australia 2014-15: Injury concern for Steven Smith ahead of 1st Test

Indians vs Cricket Australia XI, 1st Tour Game at Adelaide: Indians 55 for 1 at stumps on Day 1

Hong Kong lose five in chase of 73 against Nepal in 4th T20I

Brad Haddin may retire after Ashes 2015

Indians vs Cricket Australia XI, 1st Tour Game at Adelaide: CA XI bundled out for 219

Cricket Australia’s marketing gimmick strips umpires of their independence

Australia’s top form in ODIs: Early warning for teams heading to ICC World Cup 2015

Myth Busting — did Sachin Tendulkar’s rate of scoring become slower in the second half of his career?

Single-wicket cricket match between John Grange and James Sadler lasts three days

Bill Ashdown and Bert Wensley beat a team of 11 all by themselves

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

681 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Virat Kohli vs Australian cricketers

5 reasons why Shah Rukh Khan has 10 million followers on Twitter!

हर्षवर्धन: समय-पूर्व होने वाले जन्मों की समस्या को रोकने के लिए अनुंसधान

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Anirudh Ravichander spends time bonding with his sister in London!

Bigg Boss 8: Nigaar Khan relieved upon her eviction, says Bigg Boss 8 was a nightmare

राजस्थान: युवाओं को तम्बाकू के दुष्प्रभावों के प्रति अबगत करने की मुहिम

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

An emotional Roger Federer dedicates first Davis Cup title win to teammates: Watch teary-eyed Federer!

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here