Ben Stokes (left) and Courtney Walsh © Getty Images
Ben Stokes (left) and Courtney Walsh © Getty Images

The focus for the England-West Indies Lord’s Test was on James Anderson, a man 3 short of 500-wicket club. He claimed the first two and it seemed the inevitable was to happen before lunch. Lord’s was buzzing with supporters, cheering Anderson, who was set to be the first Englishman in the elite club. However, the thunder was stolen by English all-rounder Ben Stokes, who ensured that the Lord’s honours board would have his name, again. This time, it was for his bowling. He is only the sixth Englishman to feature on both Lord’s honours boards. He claimed career-best figures of 6 for 22 to dismantle West Indies for 123. With the series tied at 1-1, England now have the edge in the final Test. Former England captain Nasser Hussain could not help but drew parallels between Stokes and legendary West Indian Courtney Walsh.

“The way Stokes releases the ball, by contrast, is not what you would recommend to youngsters seeking out-swing, because he leans to the off side. But he does create angles. If Stokes does get the ball to move away, as he did on Thursday, it is really difficult for the batsman to line up. We saw that with one of the best deliveries, to Roston Chase, that can ever have been bowled on this ground,” Hussain wrote in column for Daily Mail.

Highlighting the movement that Stokes creates with his angle, Hussain added, “Stokes earned his success here by bowling fuller than he has ever done in Test cricket before. He was giving the ball a chance to swing and at times struggling to control the movement before he bowled Jason Holder with another beauty. Stokes actually reminded me of one of the greatest of them all — Courtney Walsh. He also used to lean away in his delivery stride and made you think the ball was coming in at you, before getting movement towards the slip cordon at the last second.”

Hussain also went on to praise the all-rounder’s stamina for bowling 13 overs on a trot between lunch and tea before adding that England made a mistake by resting him for the T20I.

“Stokes also showed great stamina — and that he is fully fit — by bowling 13 overs on the trot between lunch and tea to pull off a significant achievement in becoming only the sixth Englishman to feature on both Lord’s honours boards. So Stokes is going from strength to strength, which makes it even more of a shame that he is not playing for England in the T20I against West Indies at Durham that kicks off the white-ball leg of their tour.

“Stokes might argue that he was involved in discussions with the ECB and they came to a joint decision but surely it would have been better for him to play in the rematch of the World T20 final rather than, say, the last one-day international at the Ageas Bowl,” Hussain further wrote.

England ended Day One at 46 for 4. Stokes is on 13 not out and he will have to pull off another stellar show with the bat to bail out England in this must-win tie.