England allrounder Ben Stokes is finding some perspective after returning to cricket from a six-month absence due to a finger injury and for a mental health break.
Stokes sent down 25 overs in taking 3-113 in a draining, physical effort in the second Ashes Test at Adelaide, part of the 150 overs England spent in the field over the first two days. England will resume on Saturday’s third day of play in trouble at 17-2 in reply to Australia’s imposing 473-9 declared.
“It has been a tough two days,” Stokes told Australian Associated Press. “It’s never ideal but you have just got to love the dirt when you get that deep and understand what you’re playing for.” Stokes also took a wider view of England’s struggles, noting the tragic jumping castle accident in Tasmania on Thursday which killed five children.
“The reason why the Australians were wearing the black armbands today puts a lot of things into perspective,” he said.
Stokes was upbeat about his return.
“I have loved every minute of it,” he said. “Walking out onto the field and wearing the Three Lions is one of the great feelings as a cricketer.” Stokes defended England’s first-day bowling tactics at Adelaide Oval which revolved around sustained periods of short-pitched bowling.
“It’s just trying to create a different type of, not energy, but create a different type of environment out there for the batters,” Stokes said on Friday.
“It does look odd when you’re trying to run in and bowl 11 overs of short stuff. But the first couple of spells I felt like it created quite a lot of chances.”
Australia, which holds the Ashes, won the first Test in Brisbane by nine wickets. The third of five Tests in the series begins on Dec. 26 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.