LONDON (92 News) – Stuart Broad and James Anderson also work to prove fitness before India Tests.
Ben Stokes returned to cricket after an injury break of over a month, making 90* off 68 balls for Durham in the T20 Blast.
Stokes had picked up a tear in his left hamstring during the Test series against Pakistan. It had seen him miss part of that series, as well as the limited-overs internationals against Scotland and Australia that followed.
He is in line to return to the national side for the third Twenty20 International against India on 8 July.
Stokes, who played as only a batsman in Durham's match against Yorkshire on Thursday, 5 July, opened the innings. He got off to a cautious start, making just 4 off the first 16 deliveries he faced before opening up with a couple of fours.
He got to his half-century with a six off his 52nd ball, before accelerating further. He finished with nine fours and three sixes.
However, that wasn’t enough to assure his side of victory. Adam Lyth’s 92* off 54 balls had anchored the Yorkshire total of 200/3. Stokes got little support as Jack Brooks’ opening burst had opener Graham Clark and No.3 Paul Collingwood walking back without doing much for the total, setting up Durham’s 44-run defeat.
Elsewhere, Stokes’ England teammate Stuart Broad had injections in his left ankle and was advised rest for five days to address an “ongoing ligament problem”.
The discomfort that forced Broad off the field in a county match was not expected to be anything serious. But the pace bowler, who will be a key member of the attack against India in the Tests starting in Birmingham on 1 August, now has the task of proving his match fitness.
He is in line to play the 22 July County Championship match for Nottinghamshire against Surrey.
Broad’s new-ball partner and England’s other injury concern, James Anderson, who has been resting a shoulder injury, is also set to play for Lancashire in the 22 July round of matches.
Before that he will turn out for the second XI on 15 July in a specially-arranged three-day game.