Ben Stokes is all set to make his 100th appearance in Test cricket on Thursday when England take on India at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot to reclaim the lead in the five-match match Test series. He will become the 76th international player to reach the magnificent milestone in the traditional format and the 16th player for England. The last English player to get to the milestone was former England captain Joe Root, who also achieved the feat during a Test match in India, back in February 2021, when he had registered a stellar double century.
Having made his debut in the 2013/14 Ashes series in Australia, Stokes has amassed 6251 runs in 99 matches in Test cricket, picked 197 wickets and took 105 catches. Legendary Garry Sobers and Jacques Kallis are the only players to have outperformed Stokes in all three departments in Tests. And the trio are the only cricketers in the world to have scored over 6000 runs and picked 150-plus wickets in their Test career.
However, the most startling statistic for Stokes, heading into the third Test match of the series against India, is that his experience in the format is more than the entire batting line-up of the home team that will feature in Rajkot on Thursday.
In a line-up which does not include former captain Virat Kohli and an injured KL Rahul, India captain Rohit Sharma remains the most experienced of the batters having played 56 matches in Test cricket. Young Shubman Gill stands next on the list with 22 appearances, followed by seven from wicketkeeper KS Bharat, six from Yashasvi Jaiswal and just one from Rajat Patidar, who only made his debut in the second Test against England in Visakhapatnam. Not to forget, one between Devdutt Padikkal and Sarfaraz Khan might be handed their debut cap on Thursday as a replacement for Shreyas Iyer, who was dropped from the India squad after the opening two matches. So that sums up to an experience of 92 Test matches, even less than the number of matches Stokes has appeared in till date.
Having overcome another visa issue in Rajkot on Monday evening, England team, who arrived from Abu Dhabi after a short mid-tour break following the Vizag game, have begun their training for the third Test. They had won the series opener in Hyderabad last month, winning by 28 runs on the back of Ollie Pope’s incredible knock of 196. However, India bounced back in the second Test with an emphatic 106-run win to level the contest at 1-1.