Stokes returns for England in 1st ODI vs. New Zealand

February 26, 2018

HAMILTON, New Zealand (AP) Allrounder Ben Stokes made a low key return to the England cricket team Sunday after a five month absence, contributing 12 runs to its total of 284-8 in the first one-day international against New Zealand.

Stokes hasn't played for England since Sept. 25 when he was arrested after a fracas outside a nightclub in Bristol. He was suspended until prosecutors decided whether he would be charged over the incident and allowed to return to the England team after the decision was made to charge him with affray.

The England and Wales Cricket Board ruled that Stokes is entitled to the presumption of innocence until any court proceedings are completed.

Stokes missed the Ashes test series in Australia, the subsequent five-match one-day series which England won 4-1 and the just-completed Twenty20 Tri-Series involving England, Australia and New Zealand.

The only competitive cricket he has played since the Bristol incident, which occurred on the night after a one-day international against the West Indies, was a short stint for Canterbury province in New Zealand's domestic limited overs competitions.

His return to the batting crease Sunday lasted 27 minutes and 22 balls and there were only flashes of form. He hit a single four before attempting a slog-sweep from the bowling of left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner and top-edged a catch to Ross Taylor.

Stokes was upstaged by Jos Buttler who hit 79 from 65 balls before being run out in the last over, Joe Root who made 71 from 75 balls and Jason Roy who made 49 from 66 deliveries.

A 79-run partnership for the second wicket between Roy and Root after the early loss of Jonny Bairstow (4), who was promoted to open to accommodate the return of Stokes, laid a solid platform for the England innings. Though they scored at a relative slow pace before Roy was out in the 19th over, they allowed Buttler to bring his big-hitting style to bear later on.

England had lost captain Eoin Morgan (8) and Stokes and were 139-4 when Buttler got underway. He announced his intention by hitting three consecutive sixes from the bowling of leg-spinner Ish Sodhi in the 32nd over and hit five fours and five sixes in total, including two sixes from Tim Southee in the last over.

New Zealand had used the wrist spinner Sodhi and finger spinner Santner effectively to contain the England batsman through the middle of the innings but Buttler took some toll on their figures. Santner finished with 2-54 - the wickets of Stokes and Roy - and Sodhi took 2-63, dismissing Morgan and Moeen Ali (28).

Buttler reached his half century from 41 balls and combined later in the innings with Ali, Chris Woakes (11) and David Willey (11 not out) to bolster the visitor's total.

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