England cricketer Ben Stokes has been cleared of affray after jurors accepted he was acting in self-defence during an alcohol-fuelled street brawl.Stokes, 27, insisted he was defending his friend Alex Hales and two gay men when he launched a barrage of punches at a fire brigade worker and an Afghanistan war veteran.However, the England all-rounder and his teammate Hales, who was never charged, could still face a ban from cricket after one of the most damaging scandals in the national game’s history.Jurors took two hours and 40 minutes to accept evidence that the all-rounder was defending himself during a sustained outbreak of violence which left two men unconscious.Stokes accepts punching Afghanistan war veteran Ryan Hale, 27, to the ground and then hitting Ryan Ali, who was left with a broken eye socket. The first images of the violence show Ali waving a glass bottle towards Mr Hales before delivering a glancing blow to Mr Barry’s shoulder.“As soon as I see Mr Ali swing the bottle and physically hit them that’s when I took the decision to get involved,” Stokes claimed.“I was trying to stop Mr Ali doing damage to anybody with a glass bottle.” Ben Stokes was supported at court by his wife ClareCredit:Hannah McKay/Reuters Afghanistan war veteran Ryan Hale, 27, was also punched to the groundCredit:Avon and Somerset Police/PA Show more Ali, his co-defendant, was also found not guilty over the 2.30am attack outside a Bristol nightclub last September.Stokes shook Mr Ali’s hand after the verdicts were returned.Mr Ali said as he left court: “I’m very relieved. I’m glad it’s all over. That’s all I have to say at this time.”Tony Miles, solicitor for Mr Ali and Mr Hale, added: “Both our clients are delighted this is over. They just want to get on with their lives.” Ali denied his version, saying he could only remember banter with Mr O’Connor and Mr Barry.He was unable to explain a scene showing Mr Barry touching Ali around the groin before trying to take his arm.He told jurors the England cricketer “was very angry and looking for someone to pick on”.Both Stokes and Ali claim they were acting in self-defence and blamed each other for being the aggressor.The footageCCTV of the fight was captured on cameras located around the Clifton Triangle area – a popular nightspot in Bristol. Mr Cunningham said Stokes insulted his tattoos and teeth in a foul-mouthed rant.The cricketer then became “aggressive” and was “obviously upset” after his offer of £300 to get back into the venue was refused. The trial heard Stokes acted like a “football hooligan” on the night outCredit:Aaron Chown/PA “Ben Stokes will now join the England squad for the 3rd Specsavers Test against India, which starts at Trent Bridge on Saturday.“Considerable detail has been heard in this week-long court case and, in due course, there will be a range of matters for the Board to fully consider.” Stokes and Ali tussled and fell to the floor and when he got back to his feet Mr Hale was standing in front of him.“I felt under threat by these two and felt I had to do whatever it was to keep myself and others around me safe,” Stokes said.Mr Hales, who had earlier kicked Ali in the head three times, then tried to grab Stokes, repeatedly begging his teammate to stop, telling him “Stokes, Stokes, that’s enough”. From left, England cricketers James Anderson, Jake Ball, Jack Knowles (CEO of Temptr), Alex Hales and Ben Stokes during a night out in Bristol, Credit: Jack Knowles/Temptr Jimmy Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Liam Plunkett, Jake Ball and Alex Hales had started drinking beers with Stokes at their hotel bar at around 7pm.The party eventually decided to continue their celebrations at a late night bar, taking a taxi at 11.25pm to Mbargo on Bristol’s Clifton Triangle.Ball, who was drinking with Stokes, insisted: “It wasn’t a wild night out.”But shortly before 1am, they left Mbargo and went to another club called Pryzm.The bar was quiet. Some chose to go home, but Hales and Stokes returned to Mbargo.Conflicting evidenceStokes’ denied claims his mood darkened after nightclub bouncer Andrew Cunningham refused to let him back into Mbargo. “There is a period of about one and a half minutes which is not covered by any footage with the consequence that the footage does not show exactly how the fight began,” Mr Corsellis said. Alex Hales was with Ben Stokes when the fight took place outside Mbargo nightclubCredit:Avon and Somerset Police/PA The spokesman said Stokes had been a victim of “pre-determined guilt” and denied claims he was under a curfew on the night of the brawl. Ryan Ali suffered a broken eye socket following the fightCredit:Avon and Somerset Police/PA In the conversation with police recorded on body-worn camera, the prosecution claimed Stokes mouthed at Hales and winked at him.Mr Hales, meanwhile, initially told police he arrived after officers, but Gordon Cole QC, representing Stokes, asked jurors to consider whether the Nottinghamshire batsman’s kicks were responsible for Ali’s broken eye socket.Mr Hale was found not guilty last week of affray by the jury on direction of the judge.Avon and Somerset Police said in a statement: “We carried out a thorough independent investigation into the events of 25 September before passing a comprehensive file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service which subsequently made the decision to charge. “Having reviewed the evidence, the jury has concluded the actions of the defendants did not amount to affray and we respect this decision.” The altercation involving Stokes was captured on CCTV footageCredit:Avon and Somerset Police/PA The incident took place outside Mbargo nightclub in Bristol Credit:Steve Parsons/PA Football hooligansBefore violence flared, Stokes had downed at least 10 drinks – jägerbombs, vodka and beers – while celebrating with teammates.Student Max Wilson said Stokes, Hales and the other men involved in the fight were behaving like football hooligans.“They were clearly drunk,” he said. During the row over re-entry to the club, Stokes is said to have told Mr Cunningham: “Look at the state of your teeth… they make you look like a c—.”Stokes had no recollection of the exchange, instead insisting he was joking about his own bad tattoos.As they waited outside, Stokes and Hales were joined by Mr O’Connor and Mr Barry, who were apparently leaving the club.Mr Cunningham claimed Stokes mimicked their mannerisms and voices. CCTV footage appeared to show Stokes flicking his cigarette at the pair. Stokes refused to answer questions as he walked away from the court with his wife and legal team.Stokes, who had been drinking heavily and smoking, denied claims he was enraged after a spat with a doorman who had refused to allow him and Hales back into a nightclub hours after England had beaten the West Indies in a one-day international. Instead, he told how he was leaping to the defence of two clubbers, Kai Barry and William O’Connor, but the Crown claimed CCTV evidence indicated he was mocking the “flamboyant” pair. Gordon Cole QC, representing Stokes, asked jurors to take into account the “blows, kicks and/or stamps” carried out by Nottinghamshire batsman Hales as they weighed up whether Stokes was to blame for Ali’s broken eye socket.As the jury of six men and six women returned its verdict, Stokes staggered forward in the dock, and puffed out his cheeks as the foreman delivered his not guilty verdict. Wife Claire sobbing in the public gallery.The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced this afternoon that Stokes would join the England squad for the third test against India. A spokesperson said: “Now that the legal proceedings have concluded, the disciplinary process for Ben Stokes and Alex Hales can be scheduled by the Cricket Discipline Commission [CDC]. Hales escapes chargesVideo taken in hospital later shows Ali with a bulging, bruised and bloodied eye socket. He also snapped a tooth.Mr Hale suffered a “1.5in laceration to his forehead”, while Stokes had no obvious injuries apart from a swelling on his right hand.After police arrived at the scene, Stokes is recorded telling officers he got involved with the fight because Ali and Mr Hale “were abusing my friends for being gay”. Mr Cunningham claims Hales intervened by saying: “Stokesy, don’t do that.”Stokes, however, denied the claims, insisting they were exchanging “banter” about his £695 white leather shoes.He added: “I don’t remember every little detail which has gone on that night.”The missing minute that sparked the fightThe brawl erupted shortly after 2.32am – but the true cause of the fight may never be known.Ali, who Stokes would end up fighting, had drunk six or seven Jack Daniel’s and Cokes, and in CCTV footage is seen walking out of the club with Mr Hale, followed by Mr O’Connor and Mr Barry. Doorman Andrew Cunningham told the court he was verbally abused by StokesCredit:Ben Birchall/PA Police body cam footage showed the moment Stokes was arrested in Bristol city centre Credit:Avon and Somerset Police/PA When asked if he had become “enraged” at any point during the incident, Stokes replied that it was a “difficult question to answer”.The 6ft 2in sportsman added: “I didn’t know they could be carrying more weapons on them.“They could decide to attack me at any time if I was to turn my back on either of these two. At all times I felt under threat from these two.” Appearing outside court, Stokes’ spokesman said the cricketer had been minding his own business before violence flared. Stokes said he and Hales were trying to find a nearby casino on his teammate’s iPhone map.He said he shouted at Ali and Hale to stop insulting the two gay men.”Leave it out…you shouldn’t be taking the piss because they’re gay,” Stokes claims he said.He claimed Ali then turned his brown beer bottle upside down and shouted: “F— off or I’ll bottle you”.During cross-examination, however, Stokes was unable to remember exactly what was said to spark his intervention. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.