Hales set to return to action after being cleared by police

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Ben Stokes made just 2 from seven balls, and failed to take a wicket either, as his return to competitive cricket, for Canterbury against Otago, finished in a three-wicket defeat in New Zealand's 50-over Ford Trophy. He is now playing for Canterbury in New Zealand, but he remains suspended from national duty.

He then proved unsuccessful with the ball, taking none for 49 off nine overs as Otago chased down the target with 15 balls to spare.

The England and Wales Cricket Board will not begin an internal disciplinary process for Hales or Stokes until the conclusion of any potential criminal proceedings related to the incident.

Stokes scored two with a pull before he was bowled via an inside edge playing back to slow left-armer Anaru Kitchen at the Mainpower Oval.

"I think if anything he tried too hard. It's to be expected that he's a little rusty but he'll benefit from the run".

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Neither has played for their country since the third one-day worldwide against West Indies on 24 September, the match they were celebrating when Stokes was arrested on suspicion of actual bodily harm at 2.35am, before being released under investigation.

Eoin Morgan's touring party was due to be announced at the end of the English summer until Stokes's arrest over the incident.

On 29 November, Avon and Somerset Police said it had completed its investigation and sent the findings to the CPS to decide if Stokes would be charged.

The sight of Stokes boarding a plane Down Under last week led to murmurings that he was on his way to Australia with a view to being fast-tracked into the England side for the third Test in Perth.

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