Ashes 2013-14: Six-wicket haul doesn't beat Perth century for England's star man Ben Stokes
Stokes finished the Australia first innings with figures of 6-99 as he shone where England struggled once more
Friday 03 January 2014
Ben Stokes played down his six-wicket haul on the opening day of the final Ashes Test, claiming it still ranked below the century he scored in Perth.
But there was no doubt that Stokes played the starring role for England on another day when Australia were able to recover from a perilous position, turning 97 for five into 326 all out.
Stokes took the final three wickets in the space of one over after England had finally broken the key partnership of Steve Smith (115) and Brad Haddin (75) which threatened to take the game away.
ASHES PODCAST: Stephen Brenkley and Tom Collomosse discuss the first day of the Fifth Test. Listen below…
Perhaps the feeling that Australia had again had the better of the day took the shine off for Stokes, who said he could not say why he favoured his innings of 120 in the third Test as his best moment yet for England.
"I think it was the hundred," he told Sky Sports 2.
"I don't know why, I don't know if I can put my finger on it, but looking back it was the hundred."
England's reply stuttered in the final overs of the day, with Michael Carberry out for a duck as they closed on eight for one.
"There still a lot more to play in the game," Stokes added.
"Losing that wicket tonight wasn't ideal but hopefully tomorrow we can go out there and get some runs on the board."
Having enjoyed some long-awaited luck in the toss and put Australia in to bat, England will be hoping to have learned the lessons about the pitch at the SCG.
"The other pitches we've played on have been a bit flatter," Stokes said.
"This one there is a bit more in the wicket and we looked to bowl top of off. There's a bit in the wicket, so we bowled straight with good line and length. The ball stayed in good condition and if one side stays shiny there's always a chance of swing."
Haddin has been the problem for England time and again in this series, helping to dig Australia's top order out of trouble.
"Haddin just comes in and counter-attacks," Stokes said.
"That's the way he's played in the whole series and hats off to him. He's played really well. We just need to keep sticking to our areas."
Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'
It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959
Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas
...and the perfect time to visit them
Newcastle winger reveals he has testicular cancer - and is losing his trademark long hair as a result
Manchester United official team photo: Antonio Valencia and Anderson pull the funniest faces
Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt, including Danny Welbeck must be more clinical and Hector Bellerin debut
Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal player ratings: How did Ozil and Welbeck do in Germany?
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Liverpool 2 Ludogorets 1 player ratings
- 1 iPhone 6 review: bigger, thinner, faster, brighter - Apple proves you can make the best better
- 2 Sports Direct security guard allegedly banned Jewish schoolboys and told them: 'No Jews, no Jews'
- 3 Watch a man race the Circle line - and win
- 4 Pakistani passenger power forces two politicians off plane
- 5 Kanye West halts concert after two fans don't stand up - doesn't realise one is in wheelchair and the other disabled
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'