<
>

Stokes' steepler and a Moeen moon ball

play
WATCH - Stokes' crucial 69 (1:42)

England allrounder Ben Stokes came in to bat at No. 5 and played an important knock of 69 runs for his side against Pakistan at Leeds (1:42)

The steepler
A batsman hits the ball in the air towards Ben Stokes at their peril - just ask Adam Voges. He twice showed his calmness under the pressure of a catch during the early stages of this match. For the first chance he had to turn, run and take the ball over his shoulder, but while the second chance to come his way was technically easier - he was already on the boundary at deep square when Sami Aslam top edged - it went so far in the air that Stokes almost had too much time to ponder it. When he did hold on, he gave a little pat of his chest as if to indicate the heart had been racing.

The shackle breaker
With Sharjeel Khan having gone early there was a Test-match feel to how Pakistan built their innings with Aslam and Azhar Ali together. It was like being transported back to the second day at Edgbaston. Aslam couldn't kick on, but Azhar was at least able to put a little pressure back on the bowlers when he struck the first six of his innings - flicking Liam Plunkett over square leg - and in the next over he added another when he slog-swept Adil Rashid over the ropes.

The beamer
A curious aspect of Moeen Ali's bowling this season has been the almost match-by-match occurrence of a huge, head-high, beamer which flies directly to the keeper. His aim was even more off in this match when, in his fourth over, he sent one over both Azhar's head and that of Jonny Bairstow behind the stumps. Then the free hit on offer was swung to deep square-leg where Stokes took a catch to out-do his first two. It didn't count, but saved three runs.

The yorkers
It's unfair to call Chris Jordan a one-trick pony, but he appears far more certain of himself as a bowler at the end of an innings. His four-over spell to close out the innings, albeit with Pakistan already seven down, was outstanding - and especially the final two overs of it. He produced a textbook display of yorkers, getting at least seven almost spot-on, to ensure Pakistan - mainly Imad Wasim - could only score freely at one end.

The plead
Mohammad Irfan had removed England's openers, despite being warned for running on the pitch, and set about making life tough for Eoin Morgan. He beat him with a short ball, which brought a huge appeal for a glove behind only for Marias Erasmus to signal wide, then next delivery there was an even bigger shout for caught behind - Irfan ended up appealing on his knees. Pakistan reviewed, although Sarfraz Ahmed wasn't actually sure, and the replays showed it had brushed Morgan's back pocket. A very fine umpiring decision.

The drives
It has been a stop-start season for Stokes due to injury and when he has got to the crease his stays have not been long - but he has not looked out of form. With England under some pressure, having just lost Morgan to be 72 for 4, he unfurled a brace of the most sweetly struck drives you could wish to see. He barely moved an inch after each of the shots off Hasan Ali, holding his pose briefly for the cameras. No one in this power-packed England line-up hits the ball more crisply.