Ben Stokes, in the aftermath of England’s series win over Pakistan, expressed delight over the fresh faces adopting the ultra-aggressive approach, and insisted that their attitude was a testament to the country’s cricketing culture. On Saturday, England took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the ODIs.
A horror show from Pakistan in the first ODI enabled England to take a 1-0 lead in the series, but it was on Saturday at Lord’s that the country’s white-ball reserves truly shone like a diamond. England registered a 52-run win at the Home of Cricket, but what stood out was the manner in which they went about their business.
After losing two early wickets with the bat, the duo of Phil Salt and James Vince channelled the same aggression shown by Eoin Morgan’s bunch and took the attack to Pakistan despite being on the backfoot. The Three Lions, through some remarkable counter-attacking cricket, punched their way out of trouble, and the fearlessness with the bat, on a tough wicket, set up the victory for the side.
The ‘all-out aggression’ the reserves showed on Saturday was reminiscent of the senior side at its best, and Ben Stokes was delighted with the newcomers’ attitude. Speaking after the second ODI, Stokes heaped praise on the inexperienced bunch and said that their ultra-aggressive showing on Saturday was a testament to the country’s white-ball culture.
“The way we came out and showed that intent with the bat set us up for that tricky period in the middle where we lost wickets. The pleasing thing is that even the inexperienced men are taking the attacking option and that speaks volumes of the culture we’ve created over the last four or five years,” Stokes said in the post-match presentation, reported Cricbuzz.
Despite counter-punching their way out of trouble initially, England were in deep trouble at one stage, having been reduced to 160/7. At this stage, Pakistan were eyeing to bowl the Three Lions out under 200, but a fine partnership between Lewis Gregory and Brydon Carse took the hosts to 247, which in the end turned out to be a winning total on a spicy Lord’s wicket. Stokes said that he always had faith in the team’s batting depth, and lavished praise on the newcomers for stepping up in a chaotic situation.
“We got early wickets with the ball and that always helps in defending scores. We were confident of our batting depth, Lewis and Carse are capable batters, they did really well. The new guys coming up have put up some really amazing performances amidst all the chaos that happened leading up to the series. We have won the series but nothing better than completing it with a win.”
Pakistan skipper Babar Azam, meanwhile, claimed that his side lost the plot in the first 10 overs with the bat, where they lost 3 wickets. Azam also reckoned that Pakistan bowled well in short bursts, but failed to sustain the same pressure over the course of 50-overs.
“I thought we bowled well at the start but couldn’t sustain it for longer periods and that’s where it cost us. With the bat, we couldn’t do well in the first 10 overs and there weren’t any partnerships as such. We lost too many wickets early and it was hard to come back after that,” the Pakistan skipper said.
“Hopefully we can sort things out before the next game. The way Hasan bowled and Shakeel batted, these are good positives for us. Focus is to do well in the next game because there are still Super League points on offer.”
The third and final ODI will be played at Edgbaston on Tuesday, July 13.