3rd Test: Ben Stokes defends England's tactics; says they will continue to push the scoring

February 18, 2024
England skipper Ben Stokes defended his team for pushing for runs despite the prevailing situation of 'Bazball' during their 434-run defeat to India

Rajkot, Feb 18 (IANS) His team may be facing a lot of criticism over their all-out aggressive tactics of ‘Bazball’ during their 434-run defeat to India in the third Test, but England skipper Ben Stokes defended his team for pushing for runs despite the prevailing situation. With Ben Duckett going great guns, England were cruising at 224/3 in their first innings before losing wickets at regular intervals as they were all out for 319, conceding a lead of 126 runs to India, who posted 445 in their first innings.

While Duckett scored 153, none of the remaining batters failed to even reach 50. Players like Joe Root, Ben Foakes, and Ollie Pope, who were looking good for big scores, perished trying to push the scoring rate as per the Bazball tactics. Stokes said that sometimes such tactics don’t work out, but they will continue to pursue it because what matters more to them is the opinion in the dressing room and not the critics.

“Ben Duckett played an unbelievable innings, that was the tone we wanted to set with the bat (in the first innings). It was about identifying opportunities to score and push up to their total. With how the wicket was going we wanted to push it on as much as we could but sometimes that doesn’t work out. Opinions in the dressing room are the ones that matter to us,” said Ben Stokes during the post-match presentation on Sunday.

England did discard their tactics in the second innings in the second session and made a cautious start. However, with the Indian spinners, especially Ravindra Jadeja going great guns, England lost eight wickets in the evening session as India went 2-1 up.

Stokes was still confident of his team coming back in the five-match series. “We’re 2-1 down in the series but still have two games left. We leave this game behind, know we’ve got to win the next two to win the series,” he added.


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