2nd Test: Thought we applied ourselves and put their bowlers under pressure, says Ben Stokes

February 5, 2024
Chasing a record-breaking 399 on a day four pitch in India was never going to be easy

Visakhapatnam, Feb 5 (IANS) Chasing a record-breaking 399 on a day four pitch in India was never going to be easy, but England captain Ben Stokes believes that despite losing the second Test by 106 runs, his batters applied themselves and were able to put the bowlers under pressure.

On day four’s play at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium on Monday, England showed the positivity of continuing their uber-attacking approach, but it wasn’t sufficient as they were bowled out for 292 in 69.2 overs. Apart from Zak Crawley’s 73, no other batter could touch the 50-run mark in their fourth innings chase, as India squared the five-game series at 1-1.

“Coming into the last innings we had full belief in ourselves that we could chase it down. The way in which we went about taking on that challenge is what we’re all about. There are times when you have scoreboard pressure and a lot of runs to chase down, and that’s when our approach and how we want to go about things really comes out.

“I thought today, we applied ourselves and put their bowlers under pressure and it was great. Congratulations to India, obviously we ended up on the wrong side of the result, but it was another great game to be a part of,” said Stokes after the match ended.

Asked if he said anything to the batters ahead of the chase, Stokes denied such claims. “There’s no suggestion from me about how people should go out and play. It’s about how you feel comfortable playing on the day and at the time. We knew the task ahead of us but every player in that dressing room is a quality player, good enough to judge the situations and the conditions.”

With Jack Leach out due to knee injury, England had very little experience in spin-bowling attack comprising Rehan Ahmed, Tom Hartley and debutant Shoaib Bashir. “It wasn’t a challenge (of dealing with three inexperienced spinners). Looking at them, five or six Tests between them, to bowl the way they did yesterday without Joe (Root due to finger injury) – what they produced was incredible. They showed a lot of maturity and skills beyond their years and I am very proud of them,” added Stokes.

He was also in awe of seeing incredible fast-bowling spells from James Anderson and Jasprit Bumrah. “Anderson was amazing. You look at him and the way that Jasprit Bumrah this week, you are watching two incredible bowlers. Jasprit is obviously on the opposing side but sometimes you just have to hold your hands up and say, what a player. But Jimmy is exactly that as well.”



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