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Stokes steps up as England peg back West Indies

The all-rounder’s two wickets slowed the hosts’ momentum in Barbados.

Ben Stokes picked up two wickets (Tim Goode/PA)
Ben Stokes picked up two wickets (Tim Goode/PA)

Ben Stokes struck twice in the afternoon session as the West Indies reached 132 for three at tea on day one of the first Test.

Stokes, who had been awarded his 50th cap by former Durham team-mate Steve Harmison at the start of play, put the brakes on a promising start by the home side by removing Kraigg Brathwaite and Darren Bravo.

The Windies had won the toss and appeared well set to take advantage on a sluggish pitch, debutant opener John Campbell quickly into his stride with a lively 44.

The left-hander fell victim to his own ambition when he stooped to sweep Moeen Ali and succeeded only in leaving the umpire a simple lbw decision.

Brathwaite and Shai Hope added 73 either side of lunch, the former coming out of his shell after a stoic start and the latter unfurling a series of delightful drives.

It fell to Stokes to drag his side back into the conversation, forcing Brathwaite on to the back foot and then finding an edge which left Joe Root a low catch at first slip.

He then began to get the ball swinging lavishly and hooped one into Bravo at yorker length, cutting short his long-awaited return after two years out.

England had earlier solved their selection puzzle by leaving out Stuart Broad, and his 433 Test wickets, as well as Jack Leach, their most used bowler in the 3-0 whitewash of Sri Lanka before Christmas, in favour of Sam Curran and Adil Rashid.

PA

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