Ben Stokes: I was protecting team-mate Alex Hales

Ryan Hale after his acquittal yesterday

Ryan Hale after his acquittal yesterday

The court has seen security camera footage of Stokes, 27, brawling with Hale and Ali in a Bristol street.

Christchurch-born England cricketer Ben Stokes says he drank about three or four pints of lager and five or six vodka and lemonades before becoming involved in an alleged late-night fight in Bristol a year ago.

On the fourth day of the trial, the jury heard former soldier Mr Hale tell police in a formal interview that he believed Mr Stokes could have killed him.

The two gay men Stokes claimed he was defending, Kai Barry and William O'Connor, "thanked me for preventing them from being beaten up", the cricketer told police.

He has so far told the jury that, on September 24, following England's victory over West Indies in an ODI in Bristol, he enjoyed some beer in the dressing room at the ground before returning to the team hotel where he had dinner - and two or three pints of lager - with his partner, three team-mates and a couple of their partners.

The jury at the Ben Stokes trial at Bristol crown court has been directed by the judge, Peter Blair QC, to find defendant Ryan Hale not guilty of affray following legal submissions.

Stokes was charged with affray over the incident, which took place in the early hours of September 25 outside a club in Bristol. After the meal, Stokes and other England players took taxis into Bristol city centre and went to the Mbargo nightclub in Clifton Triangle.

Stokes, of Stockton Road, Castle Eden, Durham, and Ali, of Forest Road, Bristol, each deny a charge of affray and the trial continues.

Cunningham also said that Stokes had become abusive towards him and mocked his tattoos. "The fact I've been attacked".

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"Watching the video was shocking", he said.

"I was anxious it might be two on to one and I knew one had a bottle".

"I am directing you to find him not guilty in my analysis of the evidence", Blair said. You hear about it all the time, he could have. I'm the one in the police car".' He added that he thought the exact words he was saying were: "'It's on me'. "It s shocking to see someone doing that to someone who didn t do anything wrong". "It's quite shocking to think that I've been put in a situation like that". "I don't really remember how it all happened from there".

"The force I used in defending us was reasonable and entirely justified when the circumstances are viewed objectively", he added. He claimed one of the men he met in Mbargo nightclub "put his hand on my nob" and later "pinched my arse". "It did not offend me at all".

"I was like, it s fine, no problem, and just carried on walking". He is having a go at Ryan and I am trying to stop any fight, to stop him getting hurt.

Alex Hales, Stokes's fellow cricketer, is then seen telling PC Alway he did not witness the alleged fight. He told the jury: "I stepped in and said "you shouldn't be saying these things to these two men". He said "Just because I'm gay doesn't mean I'm going home with any other bloke". I would say I did connect, yes.

"When I got back to my feet I saw that one of the men we had the initial verbal altercation with was in front of me".

Footage was shown of him in handcuffs in the back of a police vehicle, apparently mouthing something to Hales.

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