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Stokes impressive on comeback

 

By David Clough

Ben Stokes' memorable return to action in England's near miss against New Zealand left his captain Eoin Morgan measuring delight and frustration after an eventful day in Hamilton.

Stokes hauled England back into contention with two wickets in his second spell as New Zealand nonetheless chased a target of 284 for eight with four balls to spare.

They also had three wickets in hand, thanks to Ross Taylor's 18th one-day international century in a stand of 178 with Tom Latham (79) and then some late muscle from Mitchell Santner - who hit four sixes and two fours from 27 balls in his unbeaten 45.

New Zealand therefore clinched their ninth successive ODI victory to go 1-0 up with four to play.

"When you lose, it's always frustrating - but there are big positives to take," said Morgan.

Jos Buttler (79) and Joe Root (71) contributed the majority of England's runs in a patchy total after they were put in on a slow, used pitch.

Stokes could muster only 12 from 22 balls but bowled admirably for figures of two for 43.

Reflecting on the all-rounder's comeback performance, Morgan said: "I'm really pleased.

"I thought he adapted to conditions perfectly well. He's delighted to be back - he's told everybody that. "

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