CUMBRIAN Ben Stokes took to the field for England in the First Test against South Africa after days of uncertainty.

The question over his participation at Centurion was due to his father Ged, the former Workington Town and Whitehaven rugby league coach, being critically ill and taken to a Johannesburg hospital on Monday, Ben being at his father’s bedside.

However, Ged reacted to treatment and is now in a stable, although serious, condition, allowing his son Ben, who recently won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, to play.

But England were up against it, with Ollie Pope, Chris Woakes and Jack Leach all ruled out through illness.

However, they had the hosts on the ropes at 111-5 but Quinton de Kock hit a spirited 95 before becoming one of Sam Curran’s four victims.

South Africa ended the day on 277-9, Stokes taking two catches (Keshav Maharaj and Zubayr Hamza) in the slips but not bowling a ball.