Ben Stokes celebrates Test captaincy by hitting 17 sixes in record ton

Durham all-rounder scored 161 from just 88 balls against Worcestershire in county championship

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New England Test captain Ben Stokes celebrated his appointment to the top job by smashing a record ton in the county championship.

Playing for Durham against Worcestershire, Stokes made a record-breaking 161 from just 88 balls with an incredible 17 sixes - a record in English county cricket.

The all-rounder, who replaced Joe Root as England's red-ball captain last week, reached his hundred off just 64 balls to post Durham's quickest first-class century, while the 17 sixes he hit is a new record for the championship since its start in 1890.

Stokes was making his first appearance in this season's championship after a knee injury on the tour of the West Indies, where England were beaten 1-0 in a three-Test series.

The left-hander took just 47 balls to reach his half-century but went into overdrive thereafter as his second fifty took only 17 deliveries, with England Under-19 left-arm spinner Josh Baker coming in for some serious punishment.

The first five balls of Baker’s 20th over were smashed over the boundary rope by Stokes.

Stokes’ fifth six took him to a century in 64 balls, shattering the Durham record for the quickest first-class ton.

Stokes was one hit away from emulating Garfield Sobers, the only batter in championship history to hit six sixes in an over, for Nottinghamshire in 1968. But another clean strike bounced just short of the long-on boundary. He also his eight fours during his innings.

"It was good fun," said Stokes at close of play. "I think the game got set up very nicely by our top five. I just had to play the situation and then, once we got our last batting point, it was about trying to get as many runs as we could.

"There are records you don't know and people bring them up. You don't play the game for stuff like that."

Stokes then put in a good shift with the ball as well, sending down 14 overs as Worcestershire were reduced to 211-7 in reply to Durham's 580-6 declared.

Updated: May 07, 2022, 10:54 AM