CHESTER-LE-STREET: Top England all-rounder Ben Stokes marked his return to cricket after a long injury layoff, striking an 18-ball 29 and taking one wicket, as his county side Durham defeated Birmingham Bears by 22 runs in the Vitality Blast T20 tournament here.
The 30-year-old Stokes had to pull out of the Indian Premier League (IPL) before its suspension after a fracture to his left index finger. He underwent a surgery for it.
This was Stokes's first T20 Blast game in three years and sets him on the return path for a one-day international series against Pakistan which begins in Cardiff on July 8.
Pakistan will tour England for a three match ODI series beginning July 8, which will be followed by a three-match T20I series commencing on July 16.
Batting first, Durham scored 185/4 in the allotted 20 overs, with Stokes smashing four boundaries and a six in his 17-minute stay at the crease. He returned to bowl four overs where he took the wicket of well-set middle-order Birmingham Bears batsman Sam Hain (35).
Durham restricted Birmingham Bears to 163/8, winning by 22 runs. IANS