'This is absurd': Ben Stokes stuns cricket world in 'ridiculous' act

Ben Stokes, pictured here smashing 17 sixes for Durham in the County Championship.
Ben Stokes smashed 17 sixes for Durham in the County Championship. Image: County Championship/Getty

Ben Stokes has left the cricket world in awe after breaking the all-time record for most sixes in a County Championship innings.

The England all-rounder returned to action in astonishing fashion on Friday with a record-breaking century for Durham against Worcestershire.

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In his first match since being named England's new Test captain, Stokes struck 17 sixes and 34 runs off one over from Josh Baker.

He wound up with 161 from just 88 deliveries and the record for most sixes in an innings in County history.

Stokes broke the previous record of 16 maximums held by Gloucestershire's Australian star Andrew Symonds in 1995 and Essex player Graham Napier in 2011.

His efforts enabled Durham to declare at 6-580 shortly after lunch before a five-wicket haul from Matthew Potts reduced Worcestershire to 6-169.

Fittingly, Stokes' exploits were witnessed by Durham chair Sir Ian Botham, who was delighted to see Stokes in such destructive form before taking over from Joe Root against New Zealand in the Lord's Test.

Stokes scored just 12 from his opening 30 deliveries before England Under-19 spinner Baker bore the brunt in one over where he was just one maximum away from being hit for six sixes.

The first five deliveries cleared the ropes - three over long-on - as Stokes' century came up after 64 balls.

There was a conference between Baker, club captain Brett D'Oliveira and other players before the final ball.

Stokes struck it down the ground again, but it bounced once before clearing the boundary, much to his frustration.

He did not let it affect him and launched another six onslaught against Worcestershire's long-serving talisman Joe Leach.

Ben Stokes, pictured here leaving the field during the County Championship match between Worcestershire and Durham.
Ben Stokes leaves the field during the County Championship match between Worcestershire and Durham. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images) (Gareth Copley via Getty Images)

Cricket world stunned by 'absurd' Ben Stokes innings

David Bedingham completed an excellent hundred of his own as the morning session produced a staggering 210 runs from 27 overs.

Stokes reached 150 by hitting the first ball after the interval for six, and the Championship six record was achieved with a straight hit off D'Oliveira.

An unforgettable innings finally ended when he holed out to Jack Haynes on the mid-wicket boundary off D'Oliveira.

“It was good fun,” Stokes said at stumps.

Ben Stokes, pictured here in the County Championship for Durham.
Ben Stokes went ballistic in the County Championship for Durham. (Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images) (David Davies - PA Images via Getty Images)

“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.”

Cricket writer Will Macpherson tweeted: "This is genuinely mental from Ben Stokes.

"Sure: flat pitch, small ground, modest attack, coming in at 360-4.

"But he's broken the County Championship sixes record (17 and counting) and is striking at 187. Absurd."

Stokes later chipped in nine overs with the ball as well, taking 0-13.

with AAP

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