December 2, 2017 / 11:06 PM / a year ago

Cricket-England's Stokes dismissed for two in Canterbury debut

WELLINGTON, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Banned England all-rounder Ben Stokes’s return to cricket for New Zealand domestic side Canterbury lasted just seven balls on Sunday.

The 26-year-old Stokes was omitted from the England touring party to Australia for the Ashes and remains suspended pending the outcome of a police investigation into an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September.

The New Zealand-born Stokes returned to his former hometown of Christchurch last week and signed a short-term deal with Canterbury to play in the domestic limited-overs competition.

Batting at number four against Otago in Rangiora, north of Christchurch, he lasted seven balls before he was bowled by left-arm spinner Anaru Kitchin for two.

He spent six minutes at the crease and his dismissal reduced Canterbury to 8-3 in the fourth over.

Stokes has been mostly silent since his arrival in New Zealand but his short-term deal has attracted criticism across the Tasman Sea.

Pundits in Australia have accused the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) of a cover-up of a plot to parachute Stokes back into the England team midway through the Ashes.

Australia, who have a 1-0 lead in the five-match series, are 209 for four after the first day of the day-night second test in Adelaide. (Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Clare Fallon)

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