Ben Stokes played a timely knock for England © Getty Images
Ben Stokes played a timely knock for England © Getty Images

The lower middle order of England saved the day for the hosts as, they recovered from 30 for four to 354 for seven at the end of Day of of the first Test against New Zealand at Lords on Thursday. England all-rounder Ben Stokes was left to reflect on what a difference 10 months can make after his stirring innings of 92 against New Zealand on the first day of the first Test at Lord’s on Thursday. Live scorecard: England vs New Zealand, 1st Test, Lord’s, Day 2

In July last year, Stokes was out for a duck in each innings of the Lord’s Test, a match India won by 95 runs to go 1-0 up in the series. Stokes, in the thick of a miserable run of low scores for England in all formats, was dropped and it wasn’t until last month that he resumed his Test career, against the West Indies in the Caribbean. Live Updates: England vs New Zealand, 1st Test, Day 1 at Lords

The West Indies had earlier been the scene of one of Stokes’ career lows when, in 2014, he broke his wrist hitting a locker in frustration after a golden duck in a Twenty20 match against the West Indies in Bridgetown. “Punching the locker was a stupid moment and something, I hope, I’ll never do again — because lockers are generally harder than bones and wrists,” Stokes said after Thursday’s play. Free Live streaming: England vs New Zealand, 1st Test at Lords

Hours earlier, the 23-year-old Durham all-rounder had walked out to bat with England in the dire position of 30 for four after losing the toss. However, he responded by putting on 161 for the fifth wicket with Joe Root — who also fell shy of a hundred in making 98. Stokes was bowled Thursday playing no stroke to off-spinner Mark Craig when in sight of what would have been just his second Test century following a dynamic 120 against Australia in Perth in 2013.

(With inputs from AFP) 

Brief scores:

England 354 for 7 (Joe Root 98, Ben Stokes 92, Jos Buttler 67, Moeen Ali 49*; Matt Henry 3 for 89, Trent Boult 2 for 70) vs New Zealand.

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