HomeSportsCricketBen Stokes hails 'greatest away Test win' as England stick together in...

Ben Stokes hails ‘greatest away Test win’ as England stick together in adversity

Ben Stokes hailed the selflessness of his reinvigorated England group after a unprecedented efficiency within the first Test in Rawalpindi, during which they overcame a bout of pre-match illness, an unforgiving pitch, and a few stout last-day Pakistan resistance to seal what he described as “one of England’s greatest away Test wins”.

In entrance of a rapt crowd on the Pindi stadium, Jack Leach claimed the ultimate wicket of Naseem Shah with roughly eight minutes of daylight nonetheless remaining, as England – of their first Test in Pakistan for 17 years – recorded solely their third win within the nation in 25 makes an attempt, and their first since one other well-known battle within the fading gentle in Karachi in December 2000.

“It’s just incredible,” Stokes stated within the post-match presentation. “We’re pretty lost for words in that dressing room. The hard work and toil that everyone’s put in over this five days is really hitting everyone. Jimmy Anderson was saying he felt a bit emotional, so having a bloke with near enough 180 Test matches [176] feeling like that at the end of this is proof that we’ve achieved something very special this week.”

The scenes on the finish of the Test have been a far cry from the chaos beforehand, with England so tormented by sickness on the eve of the sport that officers from England and Pakistan even met to contemplate a 24-hour delay to the beginning. In the tip, a choice was made on the morning of the sport to hold on as deliberate, however not earlier than Will Jacks had been drafted in for a debut moments earlier than the toss, after Ben Foakes didn’t get well in time.

“There’s a few things that you can plan for, but some that you can’t, which is obviously what happened to the squad a few days before the Test match,” Stokes stated. “It seems a long time ago, when we were running around, wondering if we were going to start the Test match on time, so I’ve got to give the group of players a serious lot of credit for turning up a little bit under the weather.”

Jacks ended up being an sudden star with the ball, claiming six first-innings wickets after a tour-ending harm to Liam Livingstone put a higher onus on his offspin, whereas Ollie Pope not solely fronted up with a century at No. 3, but additionally put in an achieved show because the stand-in wicketkeeper, together with his seven catches together with a vital one-handed take down the leg facet to prise out Zahid Mahmood within the tense closing levels.

“The crowd here this week was amazing… the reception that we got walking off the field as winners in Pakistan was very special.”

Ben Stokes hails the assist in Rawalpindi

“You could go through this whole Test match and point out key individuals,” Stokes added. “But what we’ve had to deal with coming in makes this one a little bit better. We’ve got some broken bodies in that changing room, but having the lads run in like that today … as a captain, it’s amazing to see. I don’t think I’ve seen a group of players who want to put their bodies on the line as much for the other 10 guys on the field.”

Stokes himself, nonetheless, was instrumental to the group ethic. He put his personal physique on the road in a vital 11-over spell of reverse-swing on the ultimate afternoon, and dedicated to the attacking fields that ensured that England maintained their outstanding document of claiming ten wickets in every of the 15 innings they’ve bowled since he turned full-time captain.

However, the collective buy-in from England’s batters was maybe essentially the most ringing endorsement of Stokes’ management, as they purchased into his unrelenting attacking strategy that produced an unprecedented match haul of 921 runs from 821 balls throughout their two innings.

“I’m not going to lie, I did look quite far ahead as to how this could play out,” Stokes informed Sky Sports on the shut. “From day one, we were going to have to score these runs quickly. It was going to be batting error that was going to get the batsman out on this wicket, because there wasn’t any swing, wasn’t any spin. So we had to really capitalise on that fact.

“And then, because the Test match went on, it was all about one way or the other getting the sport right into a place on day 5, the place each groups have been ready to win the sport, as a result of I feel dangling slightly carrot there, with that declaration, performed to our favour and gave them slightly sniff.”

No-one batter epitomised the buy-in better than Harry Brook, who not only scored an 80-ball hundred in the first innings of his second Test, but then sacrificed an opportunity to go even better than that in the second innings, when he was bowled for 87 from 65 balls while trying to set up the game on the fourth afternoon.

“Those two innings have been unbelievable to look at,” Stokes said. “He may have cruised himself to 100, however we had about half an hour left till the tea break. We simply despatched the message out, saying put your foot down now, as a result of we will declare at tea. There was no second-guessing ourselves on that, as a result of that is how we needed to enter day 5. We don’t need folks turning the TV off, as a result of it could be the inevitable draw.

“The selflessness that he went out there and played with… the freedom, the way he expressed his talent, was absolutely incredible. He’s one for the future. It’s always one of those difficult things, you don’t want to start talking someone up too much, but Harry’s got everything, across all formats as well. I don’t think that too many players in their second Test match have quite shown the ability of what Harry has showed there.”

After eight Tests in cost because the begin of final summer time, Stokes and England’s head coach Brendon McCullum have now overseen seven victories and one defeat, and every of these wins have been achieved in an exhilarating, enterprising trend that has remodeled the standing of an England group that had received simply one in every of its earlier 17 up till the tip of the Caribbean tour final spring.

“With myself and Brendan in charge, one thing that we do is focus on ourselves more than the opposition,” Stokes stated. “We were always going to look to take the positive route, whether that be with bat or ball in hand, and try not to second-guess ourselves with what the opposition is going to offer.

“We know we’re a really thrilling group and we needed to return right here to Pakistan, and keep on with our mantra of thrilling cricket, and provides ourselves the very best alternative to win a Test match. I’ve acquired no real interest in enjoying for a draw, the dressing-room has no real interest in enjoying for the draw.”

And as England left the field in the fading light, Stokes added that the acclaim of the Rawalpindi crowd, who had flocked to witness a thrilling finish, made all of their endeavours worthwhile.

“The crowd right here this week was superb, and I’m not going to lie, the reception that we acquired strolling off the sphere as winners in Pakistan was very particular. I hope that everybody in Pakistan who turned out to look at this sport, appreciated the cricket that was being performed, clearly not simply from us, but additionally from Pakistan.”

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket



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