English allrounder Ben Stokes has shown some improved form with the bat for Canterbury, dismissed for 34 in their latest domestic one-day match in Auckland.
Stokes faced 41 balls and struck four boundaries against Auckland at Eden Park Outer Oval in a more encouraging knock than when he fell for two in his Canterbury debut on Sunday.
The 26-year-old came to the wicket with Canterbury teetering at 45-2 and started brightly, forging a 36-run third-wicket partnership with opener Michael Pollard.
He was trapped lbw when trying to sweep legspinner Tarun Nethula, glancing back at the umpire before quickly exiting.
Christchurch-born Stokes hasn't played for England since an incident in Bristol on September 25 which left a man with a fractured eye socket.
The England and Wales Cricket Board placed him under suspension, but the ban applies only to England matches and it has raised no objection to Stokes playing in New Zealand.
Stokes is keen to keep himself in match shape while his international fate remains in limbo.
He struggled with both bat and ball in his Canterbury debut against Otago in Rangiora three days ago, facing seven balls before being bowled by Otago spinner Anaru Kitchen.
He sent down nine overs and conceded 49 runs as the defending champions lost to Otago by three wickets.