Ben Stokes marked his return to action with a five-wicket haul in his first County Championship appearance in two years against Lancashire at Blackpool.

The England Test captain opted out of being a part of England’s T20 World Cup defence in order to concentrate on his return to full fitness ahead of England’s home Test summer that begins in July.

Stokes spent much of 2023 and the early stages of 2024 managing a long-term knee injury that restricted his ability to bowl. Stokes played seven consecutive Tests as a specialist batter before making his bowling return in the fifth Test of England’s recent tour of India.

Playing for Durham against Lancashire at Blackpool, Stokes initially made a relatively quiet return to action. Lancashire scored 357 in their first innings with Stokes taking two wickets, those of Josh Bohannon and Tom Bruce.

With the bat, he fell for just two, losing his wicket to Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon. His second outing with the ball was far more impactful, as the all-rounder took five second innings wickets in a haul that saw him bol 10 consecutive overs in his third spell.

He finished with figures of 20-0-98-5.

At the end of day three, Durham are behind the contest with Lancashire having set them an unlikely fourth innings target of 475. Durham reached stumps on 134-3 with Stokes carded to come in at No. 6.

You can watch Ben Stokes take five second innings wickets below: