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Five-for raises Stokes' stock

Ben Stokes reflects on day one of the Sydney Test when he returned a format-best 6-99

Ben Stokes today continued his seamless transition to Test cricket and gave a further indication of his all-round potential.

During a tour that has seen England relinquish the Ashes having fallen 4-0 behind after four games, Stokes has been a rare bright spot.

Now in his fourth encounter, the Durham youngster boasts a century – his stunning 120 at Perth is England’s sole three-figure score in the series – and five-wicket haul.

Indeed, his 6-99 today ensured Australia were dismissed for 326 as the tourists aimed to avoid a 5-0 whitewash.

“It was special,” he told ecb.co.uk. “To hear the Barmy Army stand up and applaud me was another special moment in a pretty short career so far.

“I am loving it so far. It’s a great set of lads to be in the changing room with and it’s pretty exciting to be playing in front of 40,000 every game.

“Personally, it has gone pretty well. You’ve got to be happy with yourself in some ways but, at the same time, we have not put any consistency together.

“Hopefully things will change in this game and we can end the series with a win.”

England’s hopes of ending with that desired win were undermined again today by chief scourges Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson, plus Steven Smith.

As has often been the case in this series, top-order wickets came with regularity as Australia were reduced to 97 for five.

But Haddin and Smith, with 75 and 115 respectively, took the hosts to 326 – after which Johnson quickly ousted Michael Carberry as England closed on eight for one.

Stokes added: “We started really well this morning and then Brad Haddin and Steven Smith played really well. Haddin has done that to us all series so far.

“He just came out, played his natural game and sort of took it away from us I guess. But next time we come out to bowl, we just need to be better than we were to him and try not to let him get off to a good start.

“Hopefully tomorrow we can get up to their score and past it, although it’s not ideal losing the early wicket of Carbs.”

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