It was a well-known fact that when the England cricket team play away, none of the squad particularly has a good tour.
They were particularly poor in the United Arab Emirates when facing Pakistan, and prior to Saturday, hadn't not won a Test series abroad since they were victorious in India in 2012.
Yet, there is one man that is making a name for himself in South Africa with many believing he is the future of English cricket and that is Ben Stokes.
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Explosive and exciting
Anyone who even has a slight interest in cricket would have heard about his brilliant double-century in the second Test in Cape Town, where he smashed the Proteas all over the park on his way to scoring 258.
That knock included an impressive 11 sixes and took just 198 balls before the hosts finally claimed his wicket.
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It was an explosive and exciting performance that dug England out of a hole, having fallen to 223-5 on a good batting pitch.
Yet, his contributions so far in Johannesburg are just as impressive, if not earning him more plaudits than in the previous match.
Stokes began the match bowling innings-best figures of 3-53 as South Africa were skittled out for 313 on the second day of the third Test before helping England to recover from a disastrous start with a short – by his recent standards – but effective knock.
The tourists had been reduced to 22-2 and then 91-4 before the Durham star walked out onto the crease and once again showed South Africa and the cricketing world just how he likes to play, hitting a quick-fire 58 from 54 balls.
It was the first time he had reached a half-century at a rate of more than a run a ball and it would no doubt have got worse for the Proteas if not for the safe hands of Morne Morkel.
“Can change a match”
In all three matches during this series Stokes has increased the excitement from players, coaches and fans alike about what his future holds as an all-rounder.
His bowling figures in Johannesburg has seen him reach 50 wickets, while having surpassing the 1000-run milestone in Cape Town, all in 22 Tests.
To put that into perspective, Sir Ian Botham - a cricketer considered to be one of England’s all-time greats - completed the double in just one less match, while fellow ex-captain Michael Vaughan compared him to other legends of the game.
He told BBC Sport: “There’s not many teams who can play like this. There’s a bit of genius in this. Ben Stokes has got a [Adam] Gilchrist and [Garfield] Sobers-like ability to change a match.”
With the all-rounder already being spoken in the same sentence as players like this, there are exciting times ahead, not only beyond the current series in South Africa, but with a view towards the World Twenty20 coming up in the Spring and the Ashes tour in Australia in 2017.
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