England’s newly appointed Test skipper Ben Stokes marked his return to first-class cricket in grand style, smashing a spectacular century on his first appearance of the County Championship season for Durham.

Stokes smocked Worcestershire left-arm spinner Josh Baker for five sixes on the trot at New Road to bring up his ton on just 64 balls before hitting another four to end a jaw-dropping 34-run over. It all happened in the 117th over when Stokes went berserk and demolished left-arm spinner Josh Blaker.

Here is how the over went:

116.1: Baker to Stokes, SIX, a half-volley smashed over bowler’s head.
116.2: Baker to Stokes, SIX, on the pads, and the batter smacked over deep midwicket
116.3: Baker to Stokes, SIX, outside off, Stokes launched the red-leather over long-off
116.4: Baker to Stokes, SIX, round the wicket and batter once again sent the ball into the stands
116.5: Baker to Stokes, SIX, another full swing by Stokes to clear the long-on boundary easily to reach his hundred
116.6: Baker to Stokes, FOUR, full delivery, the left-handed batter smashed it hard but couldn’t clear the ropes

Here is the video:

6️⃣ 6️⃣ 6️⃣ 6️⃣ 6️⃣ 4️⃣

What. An. Over.

34 from six balls for @benstokes38 as he reaches a 64 ball century 👏#LVCountyChamp pic.twitter.com/yqPod8Pchm

— LV= Insurance County Championship (@CountyChamp) May 6, 2022

Eventually, Stokes finished at a breathtaking 161 off 88 deliveries. The southpaw smashed as many as eight fours and 17 humungous sixes during his incredible knock. Apart from Stokes, David Bedingham (135) and Sean Dickson (104) also slammed crucial centuries as Durham declared their first innings at 580/6 in 128 overs.

The Christchurch-born is playing in the County Championship for the first time since July last year when he was unable to finish Durham’s game against Warwickshire after being called up to lead England’s ODI side against Pakistan with the entirely new 18-man squad, which was named because of a COVID outbreak in the English camp.

Stokes will next captain England as the full-time skipper replacing Joe Root in the upcoming three-match home Test series against New Zealand.

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