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Ben Stokes century frustrates Australia's Ashes bid

Tuesday, 17 December 2013 - 10:32am IST | Agency: Reuters

All-rounder Ben Stokes scored England's first century of the series to frustrate Australia's bid for the victory they need to recapture the Ashes on the fifth and final morning of the third test at the WACA on Tuesday.

England reached lunch at 332 for six, still 172 runs short of their unlikely victory target of 504 with Stokes, unbeaten on 117, and Tim Bresnan (seven) at the crease after the loss of just one wicket, Matt Prior for 26, in the opening session.

Lefthander Stokes, who made his debut in the second test in Adelaide, showed great concentration and no little courage for his maiden test century to help England to their biggest innings score of the series to date.

England resumed at 251 for five requiring another 253 runs for an extraordinary victory or more likely needing to bat through the final day to save the test.

The yawning cracks that had opened up on the sunbaked wicket added an extra danger factor for the batsmen with one Ryan Harris delivery to Stokes jagging off into the slips.

The Englishman rode their luck against some aggressive Australian bowling with old ball and new for the first 80 minutes, though, adding 45 runs to the overnight tally.

It was Mitchell Johnson, whose fiery spells of pace bowling had turned the first two tests, who made the breakthrough when Prior took a swipe at widish delivery and got a nick on it to be caught behind.

Two overs later and Stokes, who had edged his way nervously through the 90s, pulled Johnson to the long-leg for four to reach his hundred, pumping his fist in celebration of an impressive knock.

At lunch, the 22-year-old had scored 18 fours and one six in the 183-ball innings. Australia won the first test in Brisbane by 381 runs and the second in Adelaide by 218 runs with the final two tests taking place in Melbourne and Sydney.

(Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)


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