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'See ball, hit ball, innings of my life'

By Rory Dollard

Published 04/01/2016

Ben Stokes admitted he may never play another innings as dominant as his record-breaking 258 against South Africa. Stokes' two previous Test centuries were both gems - a gutsy 120 in Perth on his second appearance, followed last summer by the fastest century in a Lord's Test - but he touched new heights on day two in Cape Town.

He reeled off the second-fastest double-century in Test history, needing just 163 balls, and finished with a staggering boundary count of 30 fours and 11 sixes. It was a delirious example of muscular strokeplay and formed the majority share of a mammoth 399-run stand with Jonny Bairstow, who turned his maiden Test century into an unbeaten 150.

"I probably won't play like this ever again in my life whilst playing cricket, but I've done it once so at least I can say that," said Stokes.

"I normally say 'crikey' when I get to 30, to be honest, so I kept on looking at the scoreboard.

"I felt a little bit of pressure coming into the game, having not got many runs under my belt before this, so there was a lot more emotion than I normally show when I got to the hundred but I just tried to keep on going.

"It hasn't quite sunk in yet."

Stokes claimed his success was built around the simplest game plan of all.

"It was 'see ball, hit ball', I guess," he chuckled.

"I wasn't thinking of any landmarks as I went along, I was just trying to hit as many boundaries as I could because it was too hot to run."

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