Stokes only thought sixes, not a triple
Alastair Cook gave Ben Stokes the chance to reach a triple century on the second day at Newlands, but Stokes only had one thought on his mind: keep trying to hit every ball for six.
Shortly after England crossed 600 - for the first time since 2011 - a message came out to Stokes and Jonny Bairstow about the team plans. Cook had earmarked a declaration with 630 on the board, but was also aware of yet another milestone looming for Stokes. At the rate he was scoring, it may only have taken a few more overs to reach 300 - something an England batsman has not achieved since Graham Gooch's 333 against India in 1990.
"Cooky actually ran a message and said '630 or do you want to go for 300?' I said it doesn't really matter because I'm just trying to hit every ball for six," Stokes told Sky Sports
In the end, Stokes' unforgettable innings ended on 258 although in chaotic circumstances when AB de Villiers dropped a catch only to then throw down the stumps. "I wasn't expecting AB to drop it," Stokes said.
Stokes had written himself a place in cricket history with the second fastest double century - off 163 balls - and the highest score by a No. 6, beating Doug Walters 250.
"Everything went my way, it hasn't quite sunk in yet," he said. "We had a lot of runs, I thought we were in a good position, so just tried to chance my arm and thought we were in a good position anyway."
Stokes had begun the second day with an initiative-grabbing onslaught against Morne Morkel and Chris Morris which continued the new-ball surged from the first evening.
"I wasn't intentionally going to play like that but I got myself in on a good wicket, the ball was starting to reverse, but the new ball came on faster and its conventional swing which is easier to play. You just try to get the shine off his quick as you can."