Ben Foakes enjoys the English test tone with a license to play his own way from Ben Stokes

Ben Foakes enjoyed his second Test hundred after being licensed to play his own way by England cricket team captain and fellow centurion Ben Stokes.

Ever since Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum took charge at the start of the summer, the focus has clearly been on playing cricket with a thrill, particularly with the bat.

But Foakes took a different route on day two of the second Test against South Africa, not making 113 from 217 deliveries as he occupied the crease for five hours at Emirates Old Trafford.

With Stokes contributing 103, his 12th ton at this level, and being skippered for the first time, England were able to declare 415 for nine.

They finished the tournament 241 points clear as South Africa survived nine wicketless overs before the end.

Foakes admitted he wasn’t a player who could be counted on to produce fireworks, but Stokes was glad he wore down the tourists.

“Ben was very clear. He said, ‘We can take this too, it’s a rough patch,'” revealed Foakes after the pair tied at 147 for five.

“He said ‘let’s do well and score where we can, let’s keep busy but don’t do anything stupid’. That’s what we drove with. Attacking cricket is obviously what people expect but when the ball got old , it was actually quite difficult to score.

“Because that’s not my natural game, I’m just trying to figure out how to play best. Sometimes I don’t have the right balance because I don’t think I’m an explosive racket. So yeah it’s been tough out there and to be honest there’s just a sense of relief.

“I’m really overjoyed. Ever since my first game, I’ve found that hundreds aren’t easy to come by in Test cricket, so this is very, very special for me.”

Foakes was referring to his dream start in international cricket, winning Player of the Match on his England debut at Galle on 107.

That was in November 2018 and over the past several years he has found himself on the wrong side of selection decisions and fitness issues on numerous occasions.

“A lot has happened since my debut. There were tough, difficult periods, injuries and of course a lot of time on the sidelines,” he said.

“To be honest, after my first 10 games I kind of looked and was like ‘gosh, how hard is Test Cricket?’ I think this really makes you appreciate and appreciate the opportunity so getting another one today was amazing.

Foakes also nodded to the man with whom he shared a crucial partnership of 173 years.

Stokes’ 12th Test Century coincided with the release of a new documentary about his career. In promoting the film he has spoken out about his mental health struggles, the death of his father and his acquittal for fighting, but he was back in Manchester.

“Everyone wants a piece of him, but his way of playing was pretty special,” Foakes said. Ben Foakes enjoys the English test tone with a license to play his own way from Ben Stokes

Fry Electronics Team

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