Stokes smashes record 17 sixes in 161 for Durham
New England Test captain Ben Stokes smashed a County Championship-record 17 sixes as he scored a stunning 161 off just 88 balls on his first appearance of the season for Durham.
Stokes dispatched Worcestershire left-arm spinner Josh Baker for five sixes in a row, the last of which brought up a 64-ball hundred shortly before lunch on day two at New Road, and he followed that with a four as Baker's over was taken for an eye-watering 34 runs.
To open the afternoon session, yet another six brought up Stokes' 150 and soon after he surpassed the previous record-high of 16 sixes jointly held by Andrew Symonds and Graham Napier.
Stokes hit the most sixes in any first-class innings of fewer than 200 runs, while it was the second time he has struck five successive sixes in the County Championship, having also achieved the feat at Hampshire in 2011.
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The all-rounder starred from the No 6 spot, sharing a stand of 220 with David Bedingham (135), who struck his second hundred of the season before Durham declared on 580-6.
Matthew Potts compounded Worcestershire's misery with a five-wicket haul to reduce the hosts to 169-6 by the close, despite a century stand between Ed Barnard (55) and Brett D'Oliveira (41).
Potts (5-36) registered six maidens in his 13-over spell to leave Worcestershire floundering at 16-3 at one stage, but Durham remain in total control as they eye a first win of the County Championship season.
Fresh from Stokes' heroics, Joe Root's return with the bat was delayed as Essex established control against Yorkshire on Day Two at Chelmsford.
Paul Walter (141) struck his maiden first-class century, before a late cameo from Simon Harmer (54) guided the hosts to 403 all out, despite Dom Bess and Jordan Thompson snaring three wickets apiece.
Dimuth Karunaratne (36) and George Hill (28) then succumbed in the closing stages as Yorkshire slipped to 81-3, after Sam Cook (2-15) removed opener Adam Lyth earlier in the session.
Elsewhere in Division One, league leaders Surrey are in control of their clash against Northamptonshire at the Kia Oval, with the visitors closing on 154-8, trailing by 247 runs.
Resuming on 261-6, Surrey lost Sam Curran (73) in the early exchanges on Day Two, but a terrific ninth-wicket stand of 124 between Gus Atkinson (66 not out) and Jamie Overton (59) propelled the hosts to 401 in their first innings.
Northamptonshire lost wickets at regular intervals in reply, with Jordan Clark (3-40), Daniel Worrall (2-27) and Colin De Grandhomme (2-27) impressing, although Luke Proctor provided spirited resistance for the visitors, finishing the day unbeaten on 61.
Mohammad Abbas produced a stunning display to hand Hampshire the initiative against Gloucestershire at the Ageas Bowl, only for the visitors to launch a late fightback.
Hampshire made 320 in their first innings before Abbas (6-45) ripped through Gloucestershire's top order, and while Ryan Higgins (46) and No 11 Ajeet Singh-Dale (36 not out) fought to salvage the innings, they were eventually bowled out for 179.
Nevertheless, in a dramatic conclusion to the day, Hampshire openers Felix Organ and Ian Holland both departed without scoring as they limped to 28-4 - a lead of 191 - following a blistering late barrage from Mohammad Amir (3-22).
Lancashire dominated on Day Two against Warwickshire at Old Trafford, despite an unbeaten 142 from discarded England opener Dominic Sibley.
Sibley, resuming on 118, saw his partners succumb in quickfire fashion in the morning session, with Matt Parkinson (3-60) and Hassan Ali (3-82) inflicting the damage to dismiss the Bears for 315.
Luke Wells (70 not out) led the counter-attack alongside Keaton Jennings (44 not out), before rain brought an early halt to proceedings, with Lancashire 127-0.
In Division Two, Middlesex's middle-order fought back against Sussex to leave proceedings evenly poised heading into Day Three at Hove.
Shaheen Afridi and Martin Andersson claimed two wickets apiece on Friday morning to dismiss Sussex for 392, but Middlesex were plunged into disarray at 45-4, courtesy of a fine display from England's Ollie Robinson (3-37).
John Simpson (71), Max Holden (58) and Luke Hollman (52 not out) struck half-centuries to lead the revival, while Andersson finished unbeaten on 41 to guide Middlesex to 284-6 at stumps.
Elsewhere, Kiran Carlson and Sam Northeast compiled a superb 182-run partnership to put Glamorgan in control against Leicestershire at Sophia Gardens.
The home side were teetering at 63-3 in reply to Leicestershire's 320, but Carlson (91) and Northeast (84) shifted the pendulum with a wonderful fourth-wicket stand, before Glamorgan closed on 305-5.
Marcus Labuschagne, the No 1 ranked batter in men's Test cricket, fell to Ben Mike (2-71) for 17, but Chris Wright was the pick of Leicestershire's attack, claiming 3-65 from his 18 overs.