In the week Big Ben’s bongs were silenced, English cricket’s version rang loud and clear with a brilliant century on day one of the second Test.
Arriving with England on 71 for four, Ben Stokes cracked exactly 100 but West Indies fought back superbly to bowl out the hosts for 258 before the tourists closed on 19 for one.
Stokes, who was dropped twice, said: ‘To do well you need that bit of luck on your side.’
Ben Stokes enjoys his 100 against the West Indies on the first day of the second Test
The tourists were written off as impostors and also-rans after their day/night drubbing in the Investec Series opener at Edgbaston but fought back impressively, dismissing England for 258 as Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel shrugged aside some costly dropped catches to share eight wickets.
Two of those fielding errors allowed England to add 142 runs, Stokes making exactly 100 after being handed a life on nine and Joe Root posting 59 having been grassed on eight.
England might have had it easy in Birmingham but Stokes was happy to be in a scrap again, even when Gabriel, who had put him down on 98, ended his fun and sent him packing with some choice words.
Stokes was dropped twice on his way to 100 and hailed the luck he enjoyed at Headingley
‘It’s not the first time,’ laughed Stokes, a veteran of many verbal duels.
‘He was still probably a little bit annoyed at himself for dropping me on 98, but it comes with the game. He got me out. It’s international sport, you’re all trying to do well and emotions can come out. No worries whatsoever.
‘I thought their seam bowling unit bowled a lot better than Edgbaston and made it hard work for us. We said as a team in the changing rooms it’s probably not one our best days with the bat but we never know if it’s a good score until their innings has finished. It’s how we respond in the morning.’