Ben Stokes struggles on Canterbury debut

Ben Stokes endured a disappointing debut for Canterbury
Credit AP

Ben Stokes endured a disappointing debut for Canterbury Credit AP

Suspended all-rounder Ben Stokes failed to live up to billing as England's Ashes saviour after he struggled with both bat and ball on his return to cricket with Canterbury in New Zealand's Ford Trophy.

That equation had been reduced to 13 off four overs when Stokes returned to the attack for his final two overs, but a hooked six from Otago's No. 9, Jacob Duffy, effectively settled the issue. Stokes has bowled 4 overs for 26 so far. The banned England vice-captain scored just two and went wicketless in his first match in 69 days, playing for Christchurch-based Canterbury in the New Zealand domestic 50-over competition.

His selection for the five-match series is contingent on the Crown Prosecution Service deciding he has no case to answer, despite Avon and Somerset police asking the CPS for "charging advice" after handing over their file on the incident.

Although Otago collapsed from 175-0 to 198-7, they won with 15 balls to spare.

Stokes, meanwhile, appeared to hurt his side during his Canterbury bow, although he is expected to be fit to face Auckland Aces on Wednesday.

Neither has played for England since the third one-day global against West Indies in Bristol on September 24, with Stokes later suffering a broken finger during a fight that left a 27-year-old man with a fractured eye socket.

The 26 year-old, who is in the English Ashes squad but is now suspended following his punch-a-thon in Bristol in late September, has played his first competitive game of cricket since the incident.

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