Stokes bowled into a net on the outfield and also practised some fielding drills before disappearing, spent and sweat-soaked, into the pavilion on a warm and sunny late afternoon.
There had been talk that Stokes would make his comeback here after two months out with a finger injury suffered at the Indian Premier League.
As it was, Durham still triumphed without their talismanic all-rounder, beating a strong Yorkshire team that included several of Stokes’s international colleagues.
One of those, Jonny Bairstow so often Stokes’s partner-in-crime, top-scored with 67 as Yorkshire fell short of a challenging target of 182 on a decent pitch, closing on 161-6 from their 20 overs, Bairstow making his runs from 50 balls with nine fours and a pulled six off seamer Paul Coughlin.
Adil Rashid, another of the England clan, returned parsimonious figures of 4-0-19-1 as Durham posted 181-8 from their 20 overs, Brydon Carse top-scoring with 51 and Jordan Thompson taking 4-44, both career-bests, the New Zealand bowler Lockie Ferguson chipping in with 2-31.
Harry Brook hit 41 from 27 balls with two fours and two sixes in a brave attempt to take Yorkshire home, but ultimately they were not quite good enough in any department and could have no complaints.
Unchanged after their opening night victory against Birmingham Bears, Yorkshire opted to follow the same formula, once more choosing to bowl after winning the toss.
In front of 3,892 spectators, including a group of Yorkshire supporters dressed as jockeys who delighted in goading Durham’s Australian captain Cameron Bancroft with the ditty “where’s your sandpaper?”, the hosts made a dynamic start.
After the red herring of an opening over in which Yorkshire captain David Willey conceded a solitary run, Durham then thrashed 40 off the next two, including 23 off Willey’s second over as Graham Clark produced the definition of stand-and-deliver hitting.
Clark struck six boundaries in a sequence of just seven balls, including a humongous pulled six off Willey that went so far and so high that it was pretty much halfway towards clattering into the side of Lumley Castle, atop which the flag of St George billowed in a fierce if refreshing westerly breeze.
It took Ferguson’s introduction to get rid of Clark, the Kiwi striking with his fifth ball from the Lumley End when the batsman miscued to mid-on.
Thompson took two wickets in quick succession from the Finchale End when Ben Raine and David Bedingham both picked out point.
Rashid also struck with his fifth ball from the Lumley End, Sean Dickson sending a steepling chance to mid-off where Willey judged a magnificent catch over his shoulder.
Bancroft did not have any sandpaper with him but he did bring his scoop shot, which he used to striking effect when getting off the mark with an impudent boundary off Matthew Waite.
However, the man who was involved in the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal of 2018 departed for 15, top-edging an attempted pull off Ferguson to wicketkeeper Bairstow.
Ned Eckersley pulled Waite to deep mid-wicket and Coughlin lofted Thompson to long-off as Durham slipped to 132-7 with two balls left of the 17th over.
Carse injected late impetus en route to a half-century reached from 30 balls before launching the last delivery of the innings from Thompson down long-on’s throat.
Having hit 41 off the first three overs of the innings, Durham also hit 41 off the last three, striking 77 in total off the final six overs from the unpromising platform of six wickets down.
That highlighted an inconsistent effort by Yorkshire with the ball, and they were soon up against it in reply with left-handers Adam Lyth and Dawid Malan falling inside the first seven overs. Lyth skied pace man Matty Potts to Bancroft at mid-off, and Malan was bowled trying to slog-sweep the left-arm spin of Liam Trevaskis.
Tom Kohler-Cadmore holed out to deep mid-wicket off Potts before the key wicket of Bairstow, bowled attempting to pull Carse.
That left Yorkshire needing 80 runs from the last 44 balls and although Brook threatened to take them close, the game was effectively up when Potts had him caught at long-off before Will Fraine picked out deep mid-wicket in the final over as Yorkshire’s charge ran out of steam.