All-rounder Ben Stokes is a better player when “he’s in a battle”, says England team-mate Stuart Broad.
Stokes followed-up his first-innings hundred with two wickets in two balls as England dominated South Africa on day four of the third Test at The Oval.
“You want him either batting or bowling in the key moments,” said Broad.
“He’s a better cricketer when he is fired up. The team are learning how to get him in that mode more often than not.”
Nottinghamshire fast bowler Broad, 31, added: “We’ll say: ‘Stokesy, this is your time. Keep coming at him. Keep trying to get him out.'”
Stokes, 26, has previously allowed emotions to get the better of him – in 2014 he suffered a broken hand punching a locker after being dismissed in a one-day international in West Indies.
He has also had on-field confrontations with the likes of Marlon Samuels, Virat Kohli and Tamim Iqbal.
However, he has taken on the responsibility of the Test vice-captaincy and, in the first innings at The Oval, struck a flawless century in difficult conditions.
“That was a really mature knock,” said Broad. “He played slightly out of his comfort zone to keep the team calm.
“He will naturally score quickly, but then he played within his scoring power to set up the game for us.”
On Sunday, with South Africa chasing an unlikely 492 to win, Stokes struck twice in successive deliveries to help leave the tourists on 117-4 going into the final day.
He bowled Quinton de Kock with a yorker, and then had Faf du Plessis out lbw, offering no stroke.
“He bowled as quickly as I have seen him bowl,” added Broad, who took the first wicket to fall, bowling Heino Kuhn.
“It felt like one of those intimidating spells Andrew Flintoff used to bowl, heavy and at the batsmen.
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“When he gets that momentum, it’s great to see. He’s a player who goes with the momentum of the game and he dragged the team along with him during that spell.
“Hopefully he can do the same on the final day.”