Stokes’ series proved rollercoaster ride after father’s illness

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JOHANNESBURG: Ben Stokes described England’s success over South Africa as a personal rollercoaster ride after being named man of series as the tourists clinched a 3-1 triumph by winning the final test at The Wanderers on Monday.

Stokes’ father Ged suffered a stroke just days after arriving in the country to follow his son on tour and is still hospitalized.

Stokes took time off before the first test in Pretoria last month to be with his father and then overcame illness of his own to put together performances that catapulted England to victory.

His bowling on the last day of the second test in Cape Town broke home resistance as England levelled the series and he scored a century in the third test in Port Elizabeth to lay the foundation for a convincing inning and 53 runs victory.

“It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster with everything that’s gone on, to be honest,” he said after Monday’s 191 runs win in the fourth test.

“I hope the old man’s in a hospital bed watching this with a big smile on his face.”

Stokes scored a career-best 258 from 198 balls against South Africa four years ago and said touring the country fed his competitive juices.

“These series have always been competitive. Both sides have got some good pace in their bowling attacks and there is always quite a lot in the wickets for batting and bowling. I just think I really enjoy the competition,” he said.

Stokes also said that England’s young and inexperienced team had proven their worth.

“They’ve all put their hands up through the series and made some really valuable contributions to us winning.

“It’s been a massive team effort and I’m really proud of everyone in the changeroom,” he added.

Stokes, 28, did blot his copybook with a fine and demerit from the International Cricket Council after a foul-mouthed altercation with a South African spectator caught by television cameras on the first day of the final test.

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