Ben Stokes found not guilty of affray

James Anderson became the second bowler after Muttiah Muralitharan to pick 100 Test wickets at a particular venue

England cricketer Ben Stokes was cleared of affray on Tuesday over a fight outside a nightclub a year ago which prosecutors said had left two men unconscious.

Ali, 28, was also found not guilty of affray.

The 27-year-old was cleared unanimously after a week-long trial that began on August 6 by a jury consisting of six men and as many women.

A Cricket Discipline Commission investigation into the behaviour of Stokes and team-mate Alex Hales was put on hold while court proceedings took precedence.

During a night out with England teammates after a match against the West Indies last September, Stokes had at least 10 drinks in the hours before the fight unfolded.

Stokes' wife, Clare, and agent, Neil Fairbrother broke down after the verdict while the cricketer closed his eyes in relief without showing a lot of emotions.

It has not gone unnoticed by the European Central Bank that both men were out late at night - the incident occurred after 2.30am - with two games left to play in the series and that Stokes was alleged to have been "really very drunk" by the prosecution.

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Stokes, who missed the Lord's Test due to his appearance in court, played a key role in England's victory in the first Test at Edgbaston a fortnight ago, claiming three wickets on a tense final morning to secure a 31-run win.

Stokes said he could not remember flicking his cigarette butt towards the gay men or directing a V-sign at Mr Cunningham. Mr Stokes then allegedly knocked Mr Ali to the floor.

"I just didn't want any trouble so I was backing away, trying to retreat".

Ali suffered a fractured eye socket and Hale was concussed after being punched by Stokes.

He said that deciding to use a bottle as a weapon would be a "difficult decision for me to take".

Stokes was not originally included in the England squad for the third test against India, which starts on Saturday 18 August, but was subsequently added to the playing group after Tuesday's verdict.

Judge Blair told jurors they must consider the defendants' good character describing Mr Stokes as a "man of national reputation" and Ryan Ali as working for the emergency services.

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