Watch: Ben Stokes was bowled by Lancashire part-time spinner Luke Wells trying to reverse-sweep as Durham searched for an unlikely victory on the final day’s play in Blackpool today (May 20).

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The England Test captain was playing his first County Championship game of the year after opting out of the T20 World Cup to focus on ensuring he’s fit to bowl during the Test summer. He took five wickets in Lancashire’s second innings, and bowled 38 overs in total throughout the match.

Nevertheless, largely thanks to twin centuries from Keaton Jennings, Durham were staring down the barrel of their first defeat of the season, needing 475 to win going into their final innings. By the end of Day Three, they were 134-3.

On the morning of Day Four, David Bedingham and Ollie Robinson both scored centuries in a 226-run partnership to give Durham a chance of chasing their target down. Both scored quickly, Robinson’s 171 not out coming off 206 balls to close in on 400. Stokes came to the crease when Bedingham was dismissed by Nathan Lyon in the afternoon session and after initially biding his time, looked to be aggressive to the spinners. He reverse-swept Lyon to the boundary in his fifth over at the crease, in a style reminiscent of his treatment of the Australia spinner at Headingley in 2019.

He gave part-time off-spinner Luke Wells the same treatment, sending him for back to back boundaries, the second a six, in the following over. Wells managed to get the better of Stokes when he came back on, however. Stokes attempted to reverse-sweep again, but was bowled behind his legs.

Following his wicket, Durham collapsed and were bowled out for 414, 61 runs short of their target. At one point they lost four wickets for eight runs. While it was Durham’s first defeat of the season, it was Lancashire’s first win, having lost their last three consecutive games.

Watch: Ben Stokes out reverse-sweeping part timer