England all-rounder Ben Stokes has revealed that it was David Warner’s constant efforts to break his concentration that egged him on further en route his epic unbeaten 135 in the Ashes Headingly Test.
“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,” Stokes revealed in an extract published in Daily Mirror.
“A few of the Aussies were being quite chirpy, but in particular David Warner seemed to have his heart set on disrupting me,” he said.
“He just wouldn’t shut up for most of my time out there. I could accept it from just about any other opponent. Truly. Not from him, though.
“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 teammates, had disappeared. Maybe his lack of form in his new guise had persuaded him that he needed to get the bull back,” he added.
Stokes helped England snatch victory from the jaws of defeat with that epic knock as England squared the five-match series at 1-1.
England were shot out for 67 in the first innings and were 286-9, still needing 73 more runs to win with a target of 359 when No. 11 Jack Leach walked out to bat and joined Stokes at the crease to share a historic stand and take England over the line.
Talking more about how Warner tried to get under his skin, Stokes said the fact that the southpaw did not get runs in the Ashes put him under more pressure to contribute in some way.
“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.
“I muttered ‘Bloody Warner’ a few times as I was getting changed. 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,” he said.