By Rob Barnett
Ben Stokes is determined his Ashes hundred will not be a one-off while he seeks to cement a place in England’s Test team.
The 22-year-old all-rounder struck a rearguard 120 over the last two days of the Perth Test as the tourists slipped to a defeat that meant they relinquished the urn.
Stokes’ innings was mighty impressive given it came in just his second Test and was made on a WACA pitch with massive cracks running through it.
The Durham seamer also bowled 35 overs during a match played in searing heat, shouldering added responsibility in the second innings when Stuart Broad was unable to take the field.
Stokes, speaking in his distinctive north-east accent and lingo, refused to get carried away by his Test exploits though.
“You’ve got to keep your feet on the ground because it can all tumble down as fast as it’s came, I guess,” he said.
“It’s now got to be about consistency, not just living off that one innings. Hopefully go out there in this next game and try and prove myself again.”
Stokes came to the crease in the second innings at Perth with England 121 for four and staring at a four-day loss, but he added a valiant 99 with Ian Bell to give the tourists hope of avoiding defeat on the last day.
The left-hander converted his overnight 72 into three figures and was somewhat unfortunate when he under-edged a sweep off Nathan Lyon behind.
“It was just a challenge that you want. It was never going to be easy and it was good to put yourself out there against a really strong Australian attack on a fast wicket,” he added.
“It also gives you belief that you can do it. I wouldn’t say that I surprised myself. I think that was why I’m in the team, to get runs at number six.”
Stokes was ultimately disappointed on Tuesday when Australia won their first Ashes series in seven years.
“It was a mixed emotions day, I think that was, trying to deal with the fact that we haven’t retained the Ashes and at the same time trying to celebrate a personal landmark,” he said.
“It’s great to achieve these things, from a personal point of view. But everyone, including myself, is pretty gutted that we’ve lost these Ashes.
“It’ll be something that I’ll always look back on to score my first Test hundred in an Ashes series but I sent a tweet out to say ‘there’s no ‘I’ in team and I’d trade personal success for team success any day of the week’. I think I would have sacrificed any personal success for the win on that day.”
Thanks for all the messages guys means a lot,but there is no "i" in team and would trade personal success in for team success #everyday
— Ben Stokes (@benstokes38) December 18, 2013