MAN-OF-THE-MATCH Ben Stokes admitted that his record-breaking Durham innings was the sweetest of consolations after missing out on the latest England squad, writes GRAEME ANDERSON.
The all-rounder smashed 164 – the highest one-day score ever by a Durham batsman – as he propelled his side towards the Royal London One-Day Cup final against Warwickshire at Lord’s a week on Saturday.
And, as he clutched his presentation bottle of bubbly, he could hardly have been happier.
“I’m lucky in that I absolutely love to play for Durham and I love to play for England,” said Stokes.
“So although I missed out on playing for England over the weekend, I was immediately looking forward to the chance to try to get Durham to another final.”
Notts have been good for Stokes this season – he credits a century made against them in a one-day game earlier in the campaign as a turning point for him.
And of course on Saturday there was that opportunity to erase the memory of an underwhelming England stint with a truly memorable innings.
“The most important thing is to be in good nick,” he said.
“And that’s why I am so pleased with the way it went for me in the semi-final.
“I was disappointed with the three ducks in a row for England. It didn’t dent my confidence because I was feeling good.
“It was just enormous frustration because there’s nothing worse than when you’re feeling good but it’s just not happening for you out in the middle.
“I think the previous one day game against Notts was an important one for me – when I finally got to three figures – that was great for my self-belief.
“But any score you get against Notts is a good one because they make you work for it and they made us work hard for the semi-final win as well.
“It was a great performance by us a team, but Notts didn’t make it easy for us in their innings, particularly Titch Taylor.
“We were just fortunate that wickets kept falling around him and they weren’t able to sustain things.”