Ben Stokes has revealed being sledged relentlessly by David Warner was the motivation behind his stunning match-winning century against Australia at Headingley in August.
- Stokes scored all but one of the required runs to steer England to a remarkable Test victory
- In a new book, Stokes said Warner’s on-field comments gave him “extra personal motivation”
- Stokes wrote that the Australian batsman dropped the “nice guy act” during the innings
Stokes’s unbeaten 135 that inspired England to a one-wicket win to level the Ashes series at 1-1 has been widely lauded as the greatest innings of all time.
The hosts chased down 369 to win thanks to his unlikely 76-run last wicket-stand with Jack Leach.
Australia somehow managed to lose the Test after bowling England out for 67 in their first innings and Stokes said silencing Warner, who endured a shocking series which saw him average just over nine runs, made it all the more satisfying.
“He just wouldn’t shut up for most of my time out there,” Stokes said of Warner, in his new book On Fire, which has been serialised in the Daily Mirror newspaper.
“I had extra personal motivation due to some things that were said to me out on the field on the evening of day three when I was trying to get through to stumps.
“A few of the Aussies were being quite chirpy but, in particular, David Warner seemed to have his heart set on disrupting me.
“I could accept it from just about any other opponent. Truly. Not from him, though.”
Stokes, who scored only three runs off his first 73 balls after arriving at the crease on the Saturday evening, was dropped on 34 by Warner — who then did all he could to get under his skin.
“The changed man he was adamant he’d become, the one that hardly said boo to a goose and even went as far as claiming he had been re-nicknamed ‘Humble’ by his Australia team-mates, had disappeared,” Stokes wrote.
“Maybe his lack of form in his new guise had persuaded him that he needed to get ‘the bull’ back?
“Although he’d enjoyed a prolific World Cup campaign, he had struggled with the bat at the start of the Ashes and was perhaps turning to his old ways to try to get the best out of himself. The nice guy act had done nothing for his runs column.”
“The more time passed, the more it spurred me on. All kinds of ideas of what I might say to him at the end of the game went through my head.
“In the end, I vowed to do nothing other than shake his hand and say ‘well done’ if I could manufacture the situation.
“You always shake the hands of every member of the opposing team at the end of a match. But this one would give me the greatest sense of satisfaction.”