Root lauds match-winning 'role model' Stokes after England heroics

England was inspired by a superb spell of bowling from Ben Stokes as it levelled the four-Test series with South Africa on Tuesday.

England's Ben Stokes (centre) reacts after taking the wicket of Anrich Nortje.   -  Getty Images

Joe Root heaped praise on Ben Stokes after the all-rounder cleaned up South Africa's tail to secure a 189-run win for England in the second Test.

Stokes took on the familiar role of England's hero as he claimed the host's final three wickets at Newlands to bring an end to the Proteas' stubborn resistance on day five.

READ | Stokes inspires England to thrilling series-levelling win

Having also starred in the field and contributed 119 with the bat, the overall display was further proof of Stokes' quality, which was not lost on captain Root.

"You can throw the ball to him, put him in any situation and he will stand up for you," said Root.

"He will do everything for the team, he is a brilliant role model for all of the guys coming through, a brilliant senior player.

"He puts in an eight- or nine-over spell like that and keeps running in. And we've seen with the bat he can really change the game for you. He's a world-class player."

Stokes was named man of the match but felt obliged to highlight the contribution of maiden Test centurion Dom Sibley, who he insisted should have been given the award. 

"I thought Dom put all the hard yards in," said Stokes, who tried to drag the Warwickshire batsman up for the post-match presentation. "He should be the one up here. Full credit should go to him.

"The future looks great for us. We showed an outstanding amount of character."

Both Root and Stokes are now looking forward to the remainder of a four-match series which is nicely poised at 1-1.

"When you have a series and the first two games are results, it makes things very interesting," said Stokes.

"It's why five-day cricket should always be around. It's the best form of the game."

Root added: "For the young players involved in a Test like that, it is a great opportunity for us to keep improving and use it in the next game."

The third Test begins in Port Elizabeth on January 16.