Ben’s Quick-Fire 72

Cape Town – For a moment it seemed Ben Stokes might claim another record at Newlands. Ben’s quick-fire 72 in 47 balls seriously challenged the record for the quickest test century by an England batter.

The current, longstanding, record is held by Gilbert Jessop, who in 1902 hit a test century in 76 balls.

On this occasion, Jessop’s record did not fall to Ben.

The South Africans perplexing decision not to take the new ball was seized upon by Ben.

As a result, Ben’s innings, which included 7 fours and 3 sixes, sped the England score along on the fourth morning.

To the delight of the Barmy Army, Ben’s quick-fire 72, was composed of brutal, but controlled, shot-making. The ball being thwacked along the ground and smacked through the air to all parts of Newlands

In partnership with the patient Dom Sibley (133no), Ben shared a 64 ball 50 partnership and the pair put on 92 for the fifth wicket. Importantly, Ben’s thumping innings, reinforced England’s dominant position in the test.

Ben eventually fell attempting another big shot, when he was caught off the bowling of Nortje.

During the afternoon session, Joe Root declared England’s innings on 391-8. Jos Buttler contributing 23, while Stuart Board remained 8no.

Requiring 438 for the win, South Africa were 126-2 at the close of play.

(PhoenixMedia Image Created from a Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)