England skipper revealed why his side made an early declaration call on day four, a decision that eventually helped England seal one of their greatest away wins in a Test match.
Ben Stokes stated that the team had “no interest in trying to play for a draw” after the thrilling win in the Rawalpindi Test on Monday.
‘Bazball’ had taken Test cricket by storm in the home series in England, but the litmus test for this approach was on the flatter and drier wickets in the sub-continent and England aced the test with flying colours in the first Test against Pakistan.
“We wanted to come here to Pakistan and carry on with our mantra of exciting cricket,” Stokes said after the win.
“I’ve got no interest in trying to play for a draw, the dressing room has no interest in playing for a draw. Felt on this kind of wicket, almost had to entice the batsmen to play an attacking shot.”
England’s ultra-aggressive approach on day one and the bold declaration on day four were pivotal factors in the victory and Stokes highlighted how they took advantage of the batting surface to build a good total in quick time.
“We’ve played 8-9 matches with myself and Brendon in charge. One thing we try to do is focus on ourselves and not the opposition. We know we’re a very exciting team.
“Was a great batting surface, so it was an opportunity for our batting group. Having the lads truck in like they did today was amazing. Really special group of players.”
Stokes hailed the win as one of England’s greatest victories in Test cricket away from home.
“Today we were fortunate to get the ball reverse-swinging. James Anderson and Ollie Robinson were fantastic today. We won probably about 8 minutes before we would’ve come off. This is probably up there as one of England’s greatest away wins.”
Meanwhile, Babar Azam stated that Pakistan were simply “not up to the mark”.
“We were not upto 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 7 an over. We had an opportunity in the second innings. But we didn’t get partnerships in the end. Lot of positives. Our batting performed very well.”