England's Ben Stokes says father's health scare spurred him on
"I always had my dad in the back of my mind, thinking about where he was... I hope I made him proud," said Stokes after England to clinch second Test win over South Africa
Last Updated: 08/01/20 6:02am
Ben Stokes says his father's recent health scare gave him added impetus to bowl England to their historic Test victory against South Africa in Cape Town.
The England all-rounder's father, Ged, was taken ill just before Christmas and spent several days in intensive care in a Johannesburg hospital.
Stokes junior was named man of the match after taking the final three South African wickets as England triumphed by 189 runs to secure their first Test success at Newlands since 1957.
"With everything that's happened with my dad, you have a bit more inside of you and niggles and injuries, stuff like that, sort of goes," Stokes told Sky Sports.
"You're trying to understand where you are. Although I always wear this shirt with as much pride as I possibly can, when I was running in to bowl there was a bit more there for me this week.
"A bad knee, a bad side or whatever it was, I always had my dad in the back of my mind, thinking about where he was. I haven't managed to speak to him yet tonight, but I hope I made him proud."
Stokes turned in a genuine all-round performance at Cape Town, taking six slip catches in the match as well as blasting a quickfire 72 to pave the way for the tourists' declaration on the fourth day.
He then applied the finishing touch with the ball, dismissing Dwaine Pretorius and Anrich Nortje in successive deliveries before wrapping up England's win by taking the wicket of Vernon Philander.
That outcome had looked unlikely at times on the final day, particularly when Quinton de Kock and Rassie van der Dussen frustrated England with a sixth-wicket stand of 66 in 34 overs.
"There was going to be times throughout the day where they were allowed to play well and nothing much was going to happen, but we knew we were one chance away," Stokes reflected.
"Guys came in and we got a wicket, then there was a quieter period again, but then something else happened. We got into that last session needing five wickets and we were still seriously in the game.
"It was a dismissal out of nowhere that got us going, with Denners (Joe Denly) getting De Kock. We've been on the receiving end a couple of times before so it's great to get over the line in such a dramatic way."
Stokes was quick to praise his younger team-mates for their roles in clinching the victory, which levels the four-match series at 1-1 ahead of the third Test in Port Elizabeth, which begins on January 16, live on Sky Sports Cricket.
Dom Sibley's unbeaten century played a key part in England's success, while 22-year-old spinner Dom Bess, along with Sam Curran and Zak Crawley - both 21 - all made vital contributions.
"This is South Africa's fortress - I couldn't believe how good their record is here and to be one of the teams to actually beat them here deserves a lot of credit," added Stokes.
"You take Root, Broad, Anderson and myself out and we're pretty young and inexperienced. Those young guys have stepped up at big moments in this game, so the future looks good.
"The atmosphere throughout the five days was incredible. We get great support all around the world but this week honestly felt like it was at another level. They were absolutely brilliant, the Barmy Army and everyone who came out to support us."