England’s “golden nugget”, Cumbrian Ben Stokes, and his captain Joe Root have both thrown their support behind five-day Test cricket after a dramatic late victory over South Africa in Cape Town.

The tourists were forced to toil through 137.4 overs at Newlands, straining every sinew along the way, but finally put the finishing touches on a 189-run when Stokes, from Cockermouth, claimed the last three wickets with 8.2 overs remaining.

The trail had gone gone cold several times over the course of an exhausting concluding act but the rousing manner in which Stokes wrapped the innings up for 248, levelling the series at 1-1, cast a heavy shadow on the current debate around reducing Test cricket to four days.

In the moment, at least, the idea of calling time on such contests in the interests of brevity seemed akin to sporting vandalism.

And in Stokes, the longer format has a powerful - and passionate - ally.

“It was an amazing game to be a part of. The fact it went all the way to the wire proves why Test cricket should be five days and should always stay five days,” said the former Cockermouth School pupil.

“It must be amazing as a spectator to be living through these emotions but being a player on the field, going through the highs and lows of what Test cricket can do to you on a day-to-day basis is just awesome.

“Test cricket is not made for four days, it’s made for five.

“It’s called Test cricket for a reason.”

Stokes, meanwhile, insisted that his Man of the Match effort was inspired by his father Ged, who is still recovering in a Johannesburg hospital.

In the space of 14 balls, he took the last three Proteas wickets, with England toiling for 126 overs to pick up the previous seven, completing an all-round performance that had already seen him take six catches at second slip and hit a blistering 72 to set up the game in the second innings.

“I’ve had a few knee issues and stuff like that but I’ve got the three lions on my chest, which is such a proud thing,” said Stokes.

“I always had my Dad in the back of my mind and that took any injury worries or niggles out of my head,” he said.

“I haven’t managed to speak to him yet but, hopefully, I’ve made him proud.”