The Ben Stokes–Brendon McCullum era in Test cricket has gotten off to the best start possible as the side have won their last four Test matches and what makes the feat more special is that they have chased more than 250 in all the matches. In the latest Edgbaston Test against India, England went on to chase 378 with seven wickets in hand in the morning session of Day 5. After the win, Stokes said that he wanted India to set a target of 450 to see what his side would have done.
“Don’t know where it [the line] is. There was a bit of me that almost wanted them to get 450, to see what we’d do. I said yesterday after we finished the day’s play, look at how teams will be viewing us at the moment, that third innings now has become a fourth innings – because they have to concentrate on how we’re going to play, and they’re worried about that,” Stokes told Sky Sports, as reported by ESPNcricinfo.
“So to be in that position as a team, being feared before they’ve even finished their innings is an unbelievable place to be in. Teams don’t know how to play the third innings, especially when they’ve got a lead,” he added.
Root and Bairstow played knocks of 142 and 114 respectively and the duo formed an unbeaten stand of 269 runs for the fourth wicket. Both batters scored at a decent strike rate and India had no answers on how to stop them.
“It’s been the most fun five weeks I’ve had in my career so far. I don’t think everyone can understand what’s happened here. When you get given clarity in what you want to do and what you want to achieve, and think about bigger than results, it makes everything a lot easier. It takes away the external pressure of what international sport can throw at you. When you know what you want to go out there and do, it makes everything a lot more simple,” said Stokes.
“We are trying to rewrite how Test cricket is being played, in England especially. All the different plans that we put together over the last four or five weeks, for every different situation is something we’ll look to carry forward. It’s not always about bowling top of off or drying up, it’s how are we going to take wickets? That’s what you need to do as a bowling attack, take 10 wickets,” he added.
The five-match series between India and England that got underway last year, finished as 2-2, but the Pataudi Trophy would stay with India as they had won the series against England last time around in India.
“We know that we want to give new life to Test cricket, and the way that we go about it, and the support that we’ve received over the last five weeks has been incredible. It’s amazing, in such a short space of time, we feel like we are bringing a new set of fans to the game. Inspiring the next generation is what we want to do, this game at the moment is bigger than results for us, it’s about people who come in to represent England in the future, guys who come into the dressing room after. We want to leave a mark on Test cricket,” said Stokes.
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