England’s Ben Stokes hits fastest 250 in test cricket

Along with Jonny Bairstow – who makes an unbeaten 150 – the pair set a new world record of 399 runs for a sixth-wicket stand, in the second test against South Africa

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 January, 2016, 11:12pm
UPDATED : Monday, 04 January, 2016, 12:30am

Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow tore apart the South African bowling attack as they enjoyed a run feast at Newlands on a record-breaking second day of the second test, which led to England declaring their first innings on 629 for six.

South Africa were 141 for two in reply at stumps with a 488-run deficit.

Ben Stokes is box office. We knew he’d got it, and this is the tip of the iceberg
Former England great Ian Botham

Stokes amassed 258 runs and Bairstow an unbeaten 150 as they bludgeoned a limp-looking home attack from the opening ball on Sunday, setting a new sixth-wicket test record of 399 runs.

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Stokes notched up the quickest 250 (off 196 balls) in test history after scoring the second fastest double century (163 balls) in a knock that lasted 198 deliveries, which included 30 fours and a England record 11 sixes.

Bairstow notched an emotional first test century, with England declaring once he got to 150 off 191 balls with 18 fours and two sixes.

The pair took the overnight score from 317 for five in a remarkable one and-a-half sessions of devastating batting before putting the dispirited-looking home side into bat.

Stokes’ double century took 10 balls more than New Zealand’s Nathan Astle, who holds the record for the fastest double century in 153 balls. England’s previous fastest was by Ian Botham who took 220 balls.

In reaching 250 off 196 balls, Stokes beat Virender Sehwag’s record and also set the highest score by a batsman at number six, beating a 39-year-old mark held by Australian Doug Walters.

Botham hailed a “magnificent” display by Stokes. Analysing the match for Sky Sports, Botham said: “It was magnificent, one of the best examples of test cricket I’ve seen in a long time.

“Ben Stokes is box office. We knew he’d got it, and this is the tip of the iceberg. He’ll get it wrong once in a while, but he is a guy that wins matches, and they don’t come along very often.

“You’re just king of the castle. No boundary’s big enough, no bowler’s quick enough. It really is a moment to enjoy.”

Reuters, Agence France-Presse