Ben Stokes, the captain of England’s Test team, has stated that they are not in the subcontinent to play boring and uninteresting cricket, and that the decision to declare early on the fourth day of the first Test against Pakistan was made to continue the theme of playing “exciting cricket.”
The sporting declaration on Day 4 was crucial to England’s victory in the opening match of the historic tour as they defeated Babar Azam’s team by 74 runs on Test Day 5 to take a 1-0 series lead.
The team had “no desire in trying to play for a draw,” according to Stokes. The ‘Bazball’ strategy had dominated Test cricket during the home series in England, but the main test for this strategy was on the flatter, more baked wickets in the sub-continent, where England triumphed.
Stokes said after the victory, “We wanted to come here to Pakistan and carry on with our mantra of exciting cricket. “The dressing room has no interest in playing for a draw, and I have no interest in trying to do so. I thought I almost had to lure the batsmen into playing an attacking shot on this kind of wicket.
The bold declaration on Day 4 and England’s ultra-attacking strategy on Day 1 were key components in their success, and Stokes noted how they utilised the batting surface to quickly compile a respectable total.
“With myself and (coach) Brendon (McCullum) in charge, we’ve played 8–9 games. We make an effort to keep our attention on ourselves rather than the competition. We are aware of how fantastic our team is. It was a chance for our batting group because it was a great batting surface. It was amazing to see the guys truck in like they did today. incredibly unique group of athletes.”
Stokes praised the triumph as one of England’s finest triumphs in away Test cricket.
“It was a stroke of luck that the ball reverse-swung. Ollie Robinson and James Anderson excelled today. About 8 minutes before we were scheduled to stop playing, we won. One of the best away victories for England has to be this one.”
According to ICC, Pakistan was simply “not up to the mark,” said Babar Azam.
“We were not up to the mark. Had a golden chance in the second innings, but session by session we lost wickets. Our bowling group is young. Unfortunately Haris injured himself in the first innings. All credit to the bowlers who bowled well and tried without Haris. We tried to stick to our plans.
“Difficult when opponent goes at seven an over. We had an opportunity in the second innings. But we didn’t get partnerships in the end. Lots of positives. Our batting performed very well,” he added.