England star Stokes struggles again in comeback match

Ben Stokes has looked rusty on his return to cricket. (AP)
Updated 07 December 2017
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England star Stokes struggles again in comeback match

AUCKLAND: Ben Stokes does not appear to be in the kind of form that could save the Ashes for England, given the star all-rounder’s latest lean performance for Canterbury province in New Zealand’s domestic limited-overs cricket championship.
Stokes, who is under police investigation over an alleged assault outside a Bristol nightclub in September, scored 34 and took a catch but failed to take a wicket in seven overs as Canterbury lost by seven wickets to Auckland at Eden Park on Wednesday.
Along with the other Canterbury bowlers, Stokes’ figures were bruised by New Zealand batsman Colin Munro, who made an unbeaten 174 from 118 balls.
Stokes’ performance was at least an improvement on his Canterbury debut last weekend when he scored only two runs in a six-ball innings and went wicketless in nine overs in a loss to Otago. The New Zealand-born allrounder has been suspended from playing for England while police investigate his role in the Sept. 25 incident in Bristol which followed a limited-overs international against the West Indies. Avon and Somerset police have completed their investigation and are seeking advice from prosecutors on whether charges should be laid.
While the 27-year-old Stokes has said he is in New Zealand to visit his parents, who live in Christchurch, he could quickly rejoin the England team if he is not charged or if there is any delay in a charging decision.
The England Cricket Board has said Stokes will remain suspended pending the police investigation.
England has lost the first two tests to Australia in Brisbane and Adelaide and is likely to be more eager to recall Stokes if circumstances make it possible. The five-match Ashes series continues in Perth from Dec. 14.


‘My feelings? Mixed’: Sebastian Vettel clings on in desperate Lewis Hamilton pursuit as Kimi Raikonnen wins US Grand Prix

Updated 31 min 44 sec ago
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‘My feelings? Mixed’: Sebastian Vettel clings on in desperate Lewis Hamilton pursuit as Kimi Raikonnen wins US Grand Prix

AUSTIN: Sebastian Vettel said he felt mixed emotions after keeping his slender title challenge alive by finishing fourth in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix, won by Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.
The four-time champion, who started fifth on the grid after taking a three-place penalty, recovered from an opening lap spin to fight through the field in a tactical contest that left Lewis Hamilton frustrated in his bid to clinch his fifth drivers world title.
“My feelings? Mixed,” he said. “Happy. Really happy for Kimi. But not much for me. It should have been a better day.”
Vettel can only stop Hamilton taking his fifth drivers title next weekend in Mexico by winning the race and hoping Hamilton hits problems that keep him out of the top seven places.
He said he suffered a major blow when he clashed with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo on the opening lap.
“I must have been in his blind spot. I’m not sure he saw me. The corner kept tightening and we hit. It was a big loss for me.”
Vettel’s disappointment took nothing away from a resurgent Ferrari’s satisfaction in recovering their mid-season pace, after abandoning several recent upgrades, and claiming a revitalising victory.
“I am very proud of them all,” said Ferrari team chief Maurizio Arrivabene.
“I was always proud of the guys and even more when we are winning races. It’s been hard for us recently and we had a race engineer pass away last weekend.... I have nothing more to add. It was great today. Thank you USA!“
Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff admitted that Ferrari had been faster than his team, as he had feared.
“We lacked the pace and I said don’t close it too early. They are very fast. Kimi winning is great for him and for Ferrari, so let’s go to the next race in Mexico now.
“It was difficult to overtake, but for us it was a strategy that got worse as it progressed. We need to re-think and see what we can do better. We put on a good show altogether and that’s what’s more important.”