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Stokes back in form as England level series

  • Published at 10:02 am March 1st, 2018
Stokes back in form as England level series
Ben Stokes shook off any rust following an enforced break with his 11th ODI half century as he guided England to a six-wicket win over New Zealand in the second game of their five-match series at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui Wednesday. Stokes only made his return to international cricket in the first match in Hamilton Sunday after an incident outside a Bristol nightclub last September led to him being charged with affray and being stood down by selectors. He entered a plea of not guilty on Feb. 13. The 26-year-old scored 63 not out and combined with captain Eoin Morgan (62) in an 88-run partnership as the visitor cantered to 225 for four in 37.5 overs to level the series at 1-1. Jos Buttler finished 36 not out. Stokes also claimed two wickets and was responsible for one of New Zealand's four runouts as the host were bowled out for 223 with two balls remaining. The total, however, was never enough for the powerful England batting lineup even if Jason Roy and Joe Root both failed to get into double figure. Morgan, who was dropped on 27 by wicketkeeper Tom Latham and then Henry Nicholls at midwicket on 40, brought up his 35th half century before he hit a return catch to Colin Munro. New Zealand struggled throughout their entire innings in the face of some superb England fielding, with Roy taking two brilliant diving catches. They had slumped to 108 for six after 30 overs, despite Martin Guptill scoring 50, his 34th ODI half century. All-rounder Mitchell Santner, who hit the winning runs Sunday, however notched his first half century and finished 63 not out while Colin de Grandhomme added 38 as the lower order ensured they made the final over. The third match is in Wellington Saturday. BRIEF SCORE England 225/4 in 37.5 overs (Stokes 63*, Morgan 62) beat New Zealand 223 in 49.4 overs (Santner 63*, Guptill 50) by six wickets