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Ben marks return to Test squad with treble; CRICKET.

ALL-ROUNDER Ben Stokes marked his return to the England squad by taking three for 50 as Luke Procter posted a patient sixhour 122 to help Lancashire set Durham a challenging 247 to win their Specsavers County Championship match at Southport.

Stokes missed England's 75-run defeat to Pakistan in the first Test at Lord's last week as he continued his rehabilitation from knee surgery, but after a wicketless first innings with ball in hand, the 25-year-old kept his county in with a chance of pulling off victory.

"Compared to the first time we bowled, the wicket's changed a lot," he reflected.

"The ball didn't seem to swing as much as the day got later, and it sort of lost its pace towards the end.

"All in all, we've done a really good job and kept them at under three an over.

"Hopefully tomorrow we'll go on and win.

"Scotty and Adam bowled quite a few overs. There was the odd ball that gripped and bounced. It might change and spin a bit more for them, but we'll have to play it as it comes.

"It's turned out that it will be a good day's cricket. After day one, we thought it would be over in three days. I'm looking forward to it."

On his own situation, he said: "The back's fine and the knee's fine, which is the main thing.

"It's my first game back and I've got through it.

"We'll have to wait and see what happens in the future.

"To know I can run in unrestricted and bowl overs is good."

Procter had only reached three figures in the Championship once before this season, but already has two to his name this term.

He underpinned Lancashire's secondinnings score of 333 all out on a pitch offering assistance for both seam and spin bowlers.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jul 19, 2016
Words:304
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