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Latest updates as Ben Stokes takes stand over alleged late-night brawl

Latest updates as Ben Stokes takes stand over alleged late-night brawl

Stokes ‘looked to the sky and spoke to God’ before alleged brawl Cricket star Ben Stokes says he was looking up to the sky and speaking to ‘God’ before he was involved in a street brawl, a court has heard.

The 27-year-old all-rounder made the bizarre remark during cross-examination on the fifth day of his trial at Bristol crown court on Friday. Examining footage of Stokes talking to bouncer Andrew Cunningham, outside the Mbargo nightclub in Bristol from the night of the melee, Prosecutor Nicholas Corsellis asked him who he was speaking to when he was looking up at the night sky and mouthing words. Stokes replied: “God?” But Stokes insisted that “all of his actions were in self-defence” and that he reacted the way he did because he was “fearing for his safety” The cricketer explained that he could not remember punching Ryan Ali, 28 or his friend Mr Hale, 27, and said he intervened because they had directed homophobic abuse at the two gay men but was unable to say what those words were.

Nicholas Corsellis, prosecuting, suggested the reason he was having problems remembering exactly what happened that night was because he was “actually really very drunk”, which Stokes denied.

Ben Stokes “could have killed” someone, jury told, as allrounder begins is defence

Ben Stokes “could have killed” someone, jury told, as allrounder begins is defence

Ben Stokes has taken to the witness stand in Bristol Crown Court moments after the case against one of his co-defendants, Ryan Hale, was dismissed by the judge. Stokes, who is standing trial for affray alongside Ryan Ali, is expected to provide evidence for much of the rest of the day. He has so far told the jury that, on September 24, following England’s victory over West Indies in an ODI in Bristol, he enjoyed some beer in the dressing room at the ground before returning to the team hotel where he had dinner – and two or three pints of lager – with his partner, three team-mates and a couple of their partners. He also informed the court he had then gone to Mbargo nightclub in the city with several team-mates where he had “five or six” vodka and lemonades. From there, he went to the Pryzm nightclub for somewhere between 45 minutes to an hour with a few other team-mates – including Alex Hales – where he had “more than one” vodka and lemonade. He and Hales then decided to return to Mbargo where two team-mates, Jonny Bairstow and Liam Plunkett, had remained.

Moments before Stokes went to the witness stand, the judge instructed the foreman of the jury to enter a not guilty verdict against co-defendant, Hale. While the judge acknowledged footage of Hale running towards the fray with a length of metal torn from a road sign, he said there was no evidence of him attempting to use it. Instead, when Hale next appears in CCTV footage, he is shown removing his shirt and placing it under the head of Ali who has, in the judge’s words, been “knocked senseless” moments earlier. “There is no case to answer against Ryan Hale,” Judge Blair said.

“Properly led, you couldn’t come to the conclusion he was using unlawful violence. There hasn’t been any evidence that he did so. I have come to the conclusion you couldn’t properly convict him of the charge of affray.” Earlier the jury was told Stokes “could have killed” someone on the night he was arrested in a statement provided by Hale to the police in September and read to the court on the fourth day of the trial. “He could have killed me,” Hale said when questioned by the police on September 29.

“The way he was acting in that video, he could have beat the living hell out of me. That’s quite shocking to think I’ve been put in that situation. “He was not acting in self-defence. I was in the army. I know what self-defence is. You can use reasonable force. If someone has a bottle, you can unarm them. I was the innocent bystander getting brutally assaulted for nothing. There’s no self-defence and he’s not defending anyone else.” Hale also alleged that he saw Alex Hales, who was not arrested and is not on trial, punching and kicking Ali during the fracas. Hale also provided background to events leading to the episode in Bristol in the early hours of September 25.

He claimed one of the men he met in Mbargo nightclub “put his hand on my nob” and later “pinched my arse.” He insisted there was no falling out between the men and all involved regarded the episode as “banter.” He said he had no recollection of breaking up a road sign and running back to the fray with a length of metal torn from it. The trial continues.

 

Ben Stokes: Full Video Footage of the Moment of Arrest

The moment Ben Stokes was arrested after his physically aggressive attack on two individuals, his first question to the cop arresting him was “Will there be social cameras around?”. Shows when he is being nicked, what the most worrying thing is at the forefront of his mind.

Watch the videos to see for yourself –

The moment of aggression –

 

A short version of the video recording courtesy of the BBC –

 

A Full long version of the video recording courtesy of the ITV News –

Ben Stokes said he was protecting gay couple in fight, court told

The cricketer Ben Stokes feared being violently attacked by two men carrying weapons as he intervened to protect a gay couple on the receiving end of homophobic abuse, a jury has heard.

The Durham and England player said in a statement read to Bristol crown court that he became involved in a violent street fight to stop his “gay friends” from being beaten up. The 27-year-old maintained in the statement that he only remained involved in the brawl, during which he knocked two men unconscious, because he believed he and others were in serious peril. The court was told Stokes had been on a night out with England teammates, including Alex Hales, in Bristol city centre last September, celebrating a victory over the West Indies in a one-day international match. Ben Stokes: Amateur footage shows alleged fight outside Bristol nightclub – video The former England vice-captain said he had consumed five vodka mixer drinks and two or three beers before he and Hales met gay couple Kai Barry and William O’Connor outside the Mbargo nightclub in the city shortly after 2am.

The prosecution earlier this week had alleged that Stokes had been mimicking the couple’s “flamboyant and exaggerated” mannerisms and walking style in a “derogatory manner”. But Stokes denied being homophobic in the statement, which was given to police on 20 November last year. On the contrary, Stokes said he became involved in an altercation with former serviceman Ryan Hale and firefighter Ryan Ali, friends since childhood, when he witnessed them abusing Barry and O’Connor. “As the group came to my attention, I heard some of what was being said,” he told police. “I recall that the language being used was homophobic in nature and was being directed at Kai and William by Ryan Hale and Ryan Ali. Ryan Ali arrives at Bristol crown court. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA “Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale were taller and broader than Kai and William. I noticed that they both had glass bottles in their hands. “What Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale were saying was far from harmless banter, it was nasty homophobic abuse.” Stokes said he intervened and told Ali and Hale “leave it out – you shouldn’t be taking the piss because they’re gay”. He claimed Ali replied: “Shut the fuck up and fuck off or I’ll bottle you.” CCTV footage played to the court showed the unfolding of the fight, during which Stokes knocked out Hale and, later, Ali. Hales, who was interviewed under caution but not arrested, could also be seen kicking Ali repeatedly as he lay on the floor.

Stokes maintained he acted in self-defence throughout. “They were complete strangers,” the statement continued. “We knew that they were prepared to use weapons that could do serious injury and I feared they could have other weapons with them.” Ryan Hale, centre, arrives at Bristol crown court. “The force I used in defending us was reasonable and entirely justified when the circumstances are viewed objectively,” he said. Footage from a body camera worn by arresting officer PC Stacey Allway showed Stokes handcuffed in a police car. In the video, played to the jury, Stokes was told: “You’re being arrested because of the man in the red with the blood.” Stokes replied: “He was abusing my two friends for being gay.” He asked Allway to loosen the handcuffs, claiming he was in pain from a cricketing injury. Off-duty police officer Mark Spure told the jury he had immediately identified Stokes as the “main aggressor” when he happened upon the fight after leaving the Mbargo nightclub.

Asked by Nicholas Corsellis, for the prosecution, why he had chosen two particular men to try to get between, Spure told the jury: “One individual seemed to be the main aggressor, trying to get at another individual. In my statement I described him as having ginger or light brown hair with a green T-shirt on. The other man seemed to be trying to back away or move away from the situation.” He added: “While I was trying to stop the fighting, one man struck another with a clenched fist and he fell to the floor.” The trial continues.

 

Cricketer Ben Stokes ‘mocked gay couple’ before nightclub fight, jury hears

A jury of seven men and five women was shown footage which the prosecution said depicted the Durham and England cricket star mocking the couple, Kai Barry and William O’Connor, and flicking the stub of a lit cigarette towards O’Connor’s head. Stokes denies a charge of affray relating to a fight later in the evening which left another man with a broken left eye socket. The prosecutor Nicholas Corsellis said that the incident, for which the firefighter Ryan Ali and the former serviceman Ryan Hale have also been charged with affray, was “not a moment of trivial unpleasantness, but a sustained episode of violence which left onlookers shocked”. Ali and Hale have also denied the charges. Bristol crown court heard on Monday that Stokes “lost his control” and acted way beyond the realms of self defence during a fight outside Mbargo nightclub in the early hours of Monday 25 September last year. Stokes had attended the nightclub together with the England captain Joe Root and teammates Alex Hales and Jonny Bairstow after England’s ODI victory over the West Indies earlier in the day. Stokes and Hales left the nightclub at about 12.45am but returned to Mbargo at 2.08am.

The jury heard that they were refused entry and that Stokes attempted to bribe his way into the nightclub by offering the bouncer £60 and then £300. The jury heard that Stokes then insulted the doorman Andrew Cunningham, telling him: “Look at the state of your teeth” – in reference to his two gold front teeth – “They make you look like a cunt.” Stokes arrived at Bristol crown court just before 9am and was greeted by a throng of photographers. There were eight police officers guarding the gate as he exited a silver people carrier with blacked out windows in front of his wife, Clare Ratcliffe, with whom he has two young children, and his agent Neil Fairbrother. The all-rounder played a decisive role in England’s narrow Test victory over India at Edgbaston last week. The 27-year-old helped bowl England to a tense 31-run win, taking the key wicket of India’s star batsman Virat Kohli. Stokes celebrated his match-changing role at Edgbaston, which has been compared to some of the great pivotal moments in Test history, with a roar and a double fist pump in front of a 25,000 crowd. But by 10.30am on Monday, just three days later, the former England vice-captain sat glumly in the dock of courtroom number one. He changed his position from staring intently to sitting with crossed arms as the jury was told he had made a v-sign towards Cunningham after he was refused entry to the nightclub. Stokes, from Castle Eden, Durham; Ali, from Bristol; and Hale, from Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, are on bail. The case, which is expected to last up to seven days, continues.

 

England v India: ‘Breathless Edgbaston proves Tests are still the best’

England v India: ‘Breathless Edgbaston proves Tests are still the best’

England’s 1,000th Test produced a match befitting the occasion. The home side’s 31-run win over India, completed at the end of a very special hour and a half on a sunny Saturday in Birmingham, left everyone breathless. It was so typical of Edgbaston, a ground that time and again produces these great finishes with the crowd so heavily involved. Recently, we have seen many one-sided Tests, where one team gets on top and steamrolls to victory, with the opposition unable to mount any sort of resistance. This first Test was not like that at all. It ebbed and flowed. Both teams were only ever a 50-run partnership or a couple of wickets away from being on top. When England were 216-3 on the first day, then again when India were 100-5 on the second, Joe Root’s men had the opportunity to nail it down. Then, only 24 hours before the match ended, I was on the outfield with Root, Alastair Cook and James Anderson as part of the 1,000th Test celebrations. They had long faces because they thought they were going to lose. That the game swung this way was because of individual displays, mistakes and the conditions. Performances like Virat Kohli’s batting in both innings, Sam Curran’s counter-attack on the third afternoon and Ben Stokes’ spell on the fourth and final morning. Deficiencies from batsmen on both sides against the moving ball and a number of dropped catches. A pitch that showed the folly of playing Test cricket on rolled-out concrete where batsmen pile on the runs. This match has proved that help for the bowlers makes for exciting contests. You cannot control if a ball will swing or not, but you can offer seam movement or turn, just enough so a batsman never feels in. Time and again we see that the most compelling Tests are the ones where bowlers are given encouragement. England’s greatest Test Which match was voted the best?

There will be comparisons drawn with the Ashes Test of 2005 on this ground. It was nice to hear someone like Curran talk about how that game had an influence on him. He would have only been seven years old at the time. Now, matches like this, finishing with Stokes being roared on by the Hollies Stand, will inspire the next generation. In the short term, after Stokes bowled so well across the entire match, we are left to wonder how England will cope without him for the second at Lord’s, which starts on Thursday. His affray trial begins on Monday, but he allayed any worries he might be distracted with his performance this week. Stokes is a fantastic competitor and he used this as a reminder of what a fine all-round cricketer he really is. ‘That is the moment!’ – Stokes traps Kohli lbwWhile replacing Stokes will be a headache for Root, the England skipper can at least be pleased with his own leadership during that final session. I spoke before the series of how Root is still to stamp his authority on the captaincy, but everything went right for him on Saturday morning. The decision to bring the leg-spin of Adil Rashid into the attack might have looked obvious from a distance, but it is different when you are the captain and you know someone like Hardik Pandya could take him to the cleaners. Instead, Rashid did what he was supposed to do and pinned Ishant Sharma with a googly. Root kept faith with Dawid Malan at second slip, despite the Middlesex player’s drops in this match. Malan repaid him with a smart catch off Anderson. England’s tactic of starving Kohli of the strike also worked. The India skipper was denied the chance of a flying start. Root’s confidence in his own captaincy should now go up a notch or two. Speaking of Kohli, it is now his job to revive an India team that rolled over here four years ago. Kohli played so beautifully in this match, but he told me after the game that making his first century in England was secondary to the result. Virat Kohli scored a century and a fifty in the same Test for the seventh time, equalling Sachin Tendulkar’s India record.

India move on to Lord’s, where it is likely to be dry, suiting the tourists. If, as we expect, they include a second spinner, will it be the mystery of left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav? You feel India have to win in London. If they find themselves 2-0 down heading to Trent Bridge, where we will probably find more traditional English conditions, it’s a long way back. As we leave Edgbaston, Kohli will be one of the memories that I take with me. His ‘mic drop’ celebration, Curran’s six to bring up his half-century, the tension of the wickets falling on the final morning. Who says Tests cannot be the future of cricket? When it is like what we have seen in Birmingham, it is brilliant. When you watch, enjoy and appreciate, it is still the best version of the game.

 

England v India: ‘Characterful Sam Curran sets up classic finale’

England v India: ‘Characterful Sam Curran sets up classic finale’

England v India: First Test in balance after day three. When England slipped to 87-7 just after lunch on day three, leading by only 100, the game looked to be done. But then Sam Curran took control. His 63, made by marshalling partnerships with Adil Rashid and Stuart Broad, helped England add another 93 runs. It changed the game and England carried that momentum into their bowling after tea. With India 110-5, still needing 84 to win, the first Test is deliciously poised. The word that comes to mind when you look at Curran is character. There are not many 20-year-olds who come into Test cricket and look as assured as the Surrey man has done. Remember, this is only his second match. Then again, he looked right at home when he made his debut at Headingley against Pakistan earlier in the summer. Here, he played some classy strokes and, when the time came, he changed mode and went up a gear. He is used to having to do that in limited-overs cricket.

In that sense, he is typical of the modern game. Ravichandran Ashwin, the off-spinner who has tormented the other left-handers in this England side, was hit straight for six, then four. Curran then swiped Ishant Sharma over extra cover for six to bring up his half-century. How many 20-year-olds, in the history of Test cricket, have taken an opening bowler over extra cover for a maximum to reach their maiden fifty? ‘Can you believe it?’ – Curran reaches maiden Test fifty with huge sixWhile all this was going on, the Hollies Stand, noisy and raucous for the first time in the match, was right behind him. Curran brought the crowd to life. This followed his four wickets in the first innings and preceded him removing Ajinkya Rahane late on Friday. At Headingley, I had reservations over his pace. How might he cope when the ball doesn’t swing? Can he add a few extra tricks to his armoury? Here at Edgbaston, he has been dangerous because the ball has swung throughout. Being a left-armer, he has caused problems for an India team full of right-handers, targeting the pads. Because he isn’t quick, he has bowled a full length, getting the ball into dangerous areas. He very rarely bowls loose deliveries and, impressively for such a young man, he seems to have his plans worked out. In the first innings, when Curran was bowling to Hardik Pandya, he pushed the ball across time after time, then pinned him leg before with a big inswinger. Maybe he wouldn’t have played if the likes of Chris Woakes, Mark Wood and Toby Roland-Jones had been fit, but he gives England the variety they have desperately needed for so long. Curran triggers devastating spell with Vijay wicketWhere could he fit in long-term? Far better judges of batsmen than me are really impressed with him. Could he become a number six that operates as a fourth seamer? There’s every chance. Whatever happens, he now has runs and wickets to his name, so he is up and running in Test cricket. Where he goes from here is up to him. He looks to have the right attitude which, at the highest level, is just as important as having the talent. In that sense, he and his brother Tom remind me a lot of their father Kevin, who played for Northants, Gloucestershire and Zimbabwe. I played against him a lot. Kevin was one of those never-give-up cricketers. He was courageous and calm, but he could also be in-your-face and aggressive. I admired him because he never took a backward step. It was Kevin who was responsible for the nasty scar that I have on my bottom lip.

Who is Sam Curran?

Age: 20

Born: Northampton

County: Surrey

Style: Left-arm seamer. left-hand batsman

Tests: Two Older brother Tom made England Test debut in 2017-18 Ashes.

Father Kevin played for Zimbabwe We were playing a game in Harare, nothing more than a friendly, and I walked out to bat with only a few runs needed to win. I wasn’t wearing a helmet. Kevin being the competitor he was, dug in a bouncer that I top-edged into my teeth. There was blood everywhere. I had to be stitched up in a Harare hospital without any anaesthetic. After that, whenever we played against one another, Kevin and I had some ding-dong battles. I wanted my revenge and he knew it. Sadly, Kevin died after collapsing while out running in 2012. He did not get to see Tom make his Test debut during the Ashes or the wonderful performance of Sam here in Birmingham. Sam, though, has helped leave this match in a not dissimilar position as the Ashes Test on this ground in 2005. England beat Australia by two runs on a tense fourth day at Edgbaston in 2005 to level the Ashes series.

In that game, Australia ended day three requiring 107 runs, but with only two wickets in hand. We all know what happened next. Here, the contest is more even. India need 84 with five wickets remaining. Crucially, one of those is Virat Kohli. If England get Kohli out, they probably win. If they don’t, the chances are they will lose. James Anderson admitted as much when he spoke to the press at the close. England’s 1,000th Test has fluctuated more than most of the previous 999 and is shaping up to be a match befitting the occasion. It should be a classic finale. That the first Test between England and India is building up to such an exciting conclusion is thanks to the efforts of Sam Curran. Jonathan Agnew was speaking to BBC Sport’s Stephan Shemilt.

 

England have a delicate underbelly and want powerful love

Enough is enough… England have a soft underbelly and need tough love

We’ve seen on a few occasions now that this England facet have a delicate underbelly — and we noticed it again on a superb first day of the collection towards India at Edgbaston. Cruising one minute at 216 for 3, they had been quickly scrambling around at 224 for six. It was a reminder of why Check cricket stays the very best type of the sport — and why this England side are in want of a little bit of powerful love in the event that they’re going to manoeuvre on to the following stage. First up, we must always take our hats off to Virat Kohli. I stated earlier than this recreation that England needed to beware his ardour. We’ve heard about Kohli the batsman and Kohli the captain.

Nevertheless, it was Kohli the fielder who modified the course of the match. Joe Root is run out by Virat Kohli throughout day one of many first Check at Edgbaston on Wednesday Kohli mimics Root’s mic drop celebration after ending the batsman’s probabilities of a century The way in which Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow had run between the wickets, it in all probability wasn’t unfair to imagine there was a second run obtainable after Bairstow had tucked Ravichandran Ashwin into the leg facet. However, Kohli hared after the ball and threw it, off-balance — with simply one-and-a-half stumps to the purpose at. It was a phenomenally athletic piece of fielding and a traditional instance of how a captain can carry his facet with one second of brilliance. I additionally cherished his celebration. Principally, the man doesn’t overlook something. After Root marked his hundred within the third one-day worldwide at Headingley with that ‘mic-drop’ celebration, all of the images had Kohli within the background, quietly paying attention to what he was watching. And so he blew a few kisses, put his finger to his lips, dropped an imaginary mic and presumably mouthed an obscenity. I don’t have an issue with any of that. Kohli capitalised on a mix up between Root (R) and Jonny Bairstow to make the breakthrough Root lies on the ground dejected after freely giving his wicket softly towards India  I assumed it was ridiculous when Kagiso Rabada bought finished for shouting ‘f*** off’ after dismissing Ben Stokes at Lord’s final summer season, particularly as a result of Rabada was in all probability simply letting off steam on the scenario somewhat than Stokes himself. I believe Kohli was doing the identical. I wish to see cricketers displaying ardour.

They’re not robots — and these Indian guys are enjoying below a lot of stress. Their fans need to be blissful that Kohli’s pumped up. He’s a harmful beast when he’s. That stated, England has let India off the hook. With Root and Bairstow wanting set, issues had been going swimmingly. They had been scoring large first-innings runs and giving Adil Rashid a complete to work with later within the recreation. The script couldn’t have been going any higher. I don’t essentially blame Root or Bairstow for the run-out. Nor do I blame Root for failing to transform yet one more half-century. If something, I’ve complete admiration for the truth that, virtually every time I search for, Root’s elevating his bat to acknowledge yet one more 50. However, the reality is there have been simply too many delicate dismissals. What number of England batsmen had been actually bought out? The England captain makes his approach again to the pavilion after being dismissed for 80 Alastair Prepare dinner for certain. However, Keaton Jennings and Bairstow, each dragged on, Root was run out, Jos Buttler missed a straight one and Ben Stokes chipped a lame return catch. Somebody has to say sufficient is sufficient. And that’s why Root shall be so pissed off that he couldn’t flip his 80 into 180.

Not enough players on this facet are making large a whole bunch, and the easiest way for Root to determine his place because the chief of the group is to set that instance. If he doesn’t, others need to step up and recognise the necessity to seize the second. That second was at 216 for 3. And, as a substitute, it was Kohli who seized it. Ben Stokes appears to be like to the skies after being caught and bowled by India’s Ravichandran Ashwin

England consider options to keep Ben Stokes in frame for Lord’s Test

England consider options to keep Ben Stokes in frame for Lord’s Test

Stokes is due in court in Bristol on August 6 – the day after the Edgbaston Test is scheduled to finish – to face a charge of an affray with the case scheduled to last somewhere between five and seven days. But the England management are keeping an open mind as to Stokes’ availability, should the case be adjourned for any reason.

If that were to happen on the first or second day of the trial, the England camp has confirmed to ESPNcricinfo they would consider his involvement in the Test at Lord’s. Replacing Stokes, as England found during the Ashes, is desperately difficult. While the England management are expecting a drier surface at Lord’s that could well see Moeen Ali drafted back into the side as a second spinner, they would prefer him to play alongside Stokes, rather than instead of him.

A case can be adjourned for many reasons including illness, the admission of new evidence or a change in the charge. While it remains likely the case will go ahead as originally envisaged – certainly, the Stokes camp has no plans to call for an adjournment – the England camp is keen to find a way to accommodate Stokes if he becomes available.