Ben Stokes: England’s victory at Headingley is “just the start”

Ben Stokes praised his England team's effort in "another down-to-the-wire" Ashes Test at Headingley,

England’s captain praises his team’s performance in “another down-to-the-wire” Ashes Test in Leeds

Ben Stokes: Headingley win is 'just the start' for England

Ben Stokes praised his England team’s effort in “another down-to-the-wire” Ashes Test at Headingley,

Ben Stokes praised his England team’s effort in “another down-to-the-wire” Ashes Test at Headingley, but he underlined that their thrilling three-wicket triumph is “just the start” of their attempt to recover from a two-nil deficit and win the series. Since he only scored 13 runs before Mitchell Starc strangled him down the leg side at Headingley four years ago, Stokes was not the star of an England run chase. To chase down a target of 254 in 50 overs, they needed the efforts of Harry Brook, who top-scored with 75, Zak Crawley, Chris Woakes, and Mark Wood.

Stokes stated, “It’s incredibly huge in the context of the series. “It’s a good win because we knew we needed to win this game to maintain our chances of taking home the Ashes. If you consider how close the first two games were, crossing the finish line in the next close game can psychologically support you in knowing that it’s another close game, but we’ve already done it. The first two weren’t favorable to us. You might conclude that “It’s just not meant to be” if you flip the situation around, and we lose this game when it’s still close. Although we’re thrilled with our victory, this is only the beginning of what we must do. Due in part to Stokes’ fitness concerns, England made three changes to their starting lineup for the Headingley Test. All three newcomers—Woakes, Wood, and Moeen Ali—played significant roles, taking a combined 15 wickets and making cameos with the bat. “Woakesy, being away from the team for so long, to return and perform like he did with the ball and the bat… It was fantastic to see Woody rushing in the way he always does, a big grin on his face, and enjoying every second of being outside, Stokes added. And I mentioned before the series began that we chose to bring Mo back into the squad due to the effect he can have on games. He and I have played many games together, so I am aware of the impact he can have, even on his best days. “You look at the brief 15-minute time he had yesterday, during which he dismissed Steve [Smith] and Marnus [Labuschagne], and that was a crucial turning moment in the game. That is Mo playing cricket. When you sign somebody to the team, you want him to make an impact with the ball and the bat, and in this game, he most definitely did.

Ben Stokes: Headingley win is 'just the start' for England
Pat Cummins and Ben Stokes at the presentation ceremony.

Stokes also praised Brook’s final-day performance. “The way Brooky controlled the game with the bat from ball one was amazing,” he added. He went outside and immediately increased the pressure on them. “He played with Woakesy in that pair in a classy manner; it was remarkable for such a young guy in the Ashes under pressure. Everyone is aware of his bat prowess. He is an exceptionally talented athlete; the more stressful he is, the better he will become. Although Stokes praised England’s performance over the four days at Headingley, he insisted: “I still think we can be better.” “The thing about cricket is that nobody has the perfect response to everything,” he continued. The results will be used to evaluate everything. That will consistently be true. Nobody ever has the ideal strategy for how to play it. We can keep improving as a team and be as transparent as possible in the areas where we can improve. After the fact, people always appear to have an explanation. It will probably never be cracked, so it’s such a brilliant game.

The series will take a nine-day break before it returns at Old Trafford on July 19; Stokes predicted that this break “will do quite a few bodies a world of good” after opening three thrilling and draining Test matches. Whether Ollie Robinson, who experienced a back spasm on the first day, can participate in the game in Manchester is yet unknown. Stokes continued, “We’ve maintained the series, and we just have to park everything from this week, but keep playing the way we do. “I remarked last week that how we play cricket puts us in the ideal situation.

“It stays the same. We need to play cricket that gets a result our way, as we did after the Lord’s game, before this game, before the match in Manchester.


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