Stokes defiant as England wilt

Ben Stokes celebrates after taking the wicket of Michael Clarke
Ben Stokes celebrates after taking the wicket of Michael Clarke
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Ben Stokes is adamant England can get back into the second Ashes Test after Australia completely dominated day two at Adelaide.

Michael Clarke (148) scored his seventh Ashes hundred, in a double-century stand with Brad Haddin (118), to power the hosts to 570 for nine.

Clarke’s opposite number Alastair Cook then had no answer to the extreme pace of Mitchell Johnson, losing his off-stump to a 92mph thunderbolt, as England reached 35 for one at the close.

That leaves the tourists with an uphill battle just to stay in the game with relative rookies Michael Carberry and Joe Root at the crease but Stokes, himself making his Test debut, has confidence in the batting line-up.

“It’s been a pretty tough two days but it’s nice to eventually get off the pitch and concentrate on what we’ve got to do with the bat,” he said.

“We’ve just got to go out there and do what we do. There’s a lot of talent in the batting line-up and we know that we’ve got the skills to do it and try to put a big score on ourselves.”

He added: “It (the pitch) hasn’t really sort of broken up like we thought it would with it being so dry. It’s still a very good batting wicket and hopefully we can capitalise on how good it is.

“We didn’t want to give any more away and give them the upper hand, as it is. We go in tomorrow with nine wickets left and we can pile them on tomorrow.”

England were left toiling in the field as Australia piled on the runs but Stokes had a personal highlight as he dismissed Clarke to claim his first Test wicket.

The Australia captain chipped the first delivery of a new spell to midwicket off a leading edge to end an exemplary, near six-hour innings having hit 17 fours from 245 balls.

But Stokes, who also thought he had dismissed Haddin only to see his delivery declared a no-ball, gave credit to the notoriously flat Adelaide deck for his notable scalp.

“I think it was the pitch,” he said.

“A very special moment. Something that I’ll never forget, it’s my first Test wicket and a very proud moment.

“We had plans as a bowling unit which was to bowl pretty straight. The pitch wasn’t really doing much so we just had to hang in there and pile on as much pressure as we could.

“The wickets did come. They weren’t very often but the way we bowled I think we created quite a lot of pressure.”