South Africa vs England 2019-20: Ben Stokes' unique gesture after 2nd Test was a tribute to his ailing father
England all-rounder Ben Stokes inspired the visitors to a morale-boosting 189-run win against South Africa at Cape Town. The star athlete bowled a lung-bursting spell of 4.4 overs, conceded a mere run and bagged three quick wickets in the second innings. Post his heroics, Stokes revealed that he had his recovering father, Ged, on his mind while representing the Three Lions in the recently concluded Test series.
Stokes’ father was admitted to a hospital in Johannesburg with a serious illness on December 23. The recent turn of misfortunes inspired Stokes to a great deal to go out and perform. Apart from his contribution in the late hours of the fifth day’s play, the cricketer hit 47 in the first innings and held on to five catches before smashing a 47-ball 72 to help England set the hosts a target of 438.
Stokes told Sky Sports,
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"I don't want to get into it too much, but obviously with everything that's happened with my dad and stuff like that, you have a bit more inside of you and the niggles and the injuries and stuff like that just sort of go.
"I know I always wear this shirt with the most amount of pride that I possibly can running into bowl, but there was a bit more there for me this week.
"And you know, bad knee, 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 tonight but I hope I've made him proud."
On his way to the dressing room, Stokes’ hand gesture towards the camera became a talking point. The cricketer was seen dishing out a gesture where he folded his middle finger and pointed towards the lenses. Later on, it was revealed that it was a tribute to his ailing father. Ged had to amputate a part of his middle finger after succumbing to an injury during his Rugby league career, as he couldn’t afford a surgery.
Inspite of being bogged down by niggles and injuries, Stokes has extended his dream run since winning the 2019 World Cup with England. At one point it looked as if South Africa would salvage a hard-earned draw as they had five wickets in hands while going into the final session.
"The more experienced you get, the more understanding of games you have. I said: 'You’re not getting the ball out of my hand here until this day is done.'
"It was one last push for this Test match. We have a few days off here so whether that game went a bit longer, I was running in and trying to put everything into every ball."
The third Test of the four-match series will start from 16th January at St George's Park Cricket Ground.Published 08 Jan 2020, 18:00 IST