Ben Stokes. (AP Photo)MANCHESTER (United Kingdom): Ben Stokes completed his first century since being appointed England's permanent captain as he made 103 to strengthen the hosts' grip on the second Test against South Africa at Old Trafford.
The all-rounder, 98 not out at tea on Friday's second day, went to three figures in unusual fashion when a straight drive off Kagiso Rabada deflected off the fast bowler's shin to take Stokes to a 158-ball hundred, including six fours and three sixes.
Stokesy’s first century as Test captain 🙌Scorecard/clips: https://t.co/e4go7z2x78🏴 #ENGvSA 🇿🇦 | @IGcom https://t.co/MwaUBJY7Nk
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But the left-handed batsman, dropped on 92, fell soon afterwards when a leading edge off Rabada flew high to mid-off where he was superbly caught by back-pedalling opposing captain Dean Elgar.
England, however, were still well-placed at 320-6, a lead of 169 runs, following a stand of 173 between Stokes and wicketkeeper Ben Foakes, who was 68 not out at the time of his skipper's dismissal.
The pair had come together with England on 147-5, still behind the Proteas' meagre first-innings 151.
Their partnership was just what England, 1-0 down in this three-match series, required after an innings and 12-run defeat in the first Test at Lord's — their first defeat after a run of four successive wins under the leadership duo of Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum.
And for all the talk of a new 'Bazball' aggressive style, the 31-year-old Stokes's well-paced innings on Friday — his 12th hundred in 85 Tests and fourth against South Africa — was also a triumph of largely orthodox batting.