Stokes hails fearless England but admits: ‘I wanted India to get 450!’


aptain Ben Stokes hailed England’s extraordinary chase of 378, but admitted “a bit of him” wanted India to set them even more of a target just “to see what they could do”.

England chased 378 just three wickets down, their fourth extraordinary chase in a month, after a 3-0 win over New Zealand. It levelled a series that was paused due to Covid-19 last summer.

Once again, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow were the architects of England’s win, each scoring an unbeaten century. Root’s was his third hundred of the summer, while Bairstow’s was his sixth of the year.

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“There was a bit of me that wanted them to get 450,” Stokes told the BBC, “to see what they could do.

“I’m extremely proud. The last five weeks have been an incredible turnaround. The response from the team has just made it the most fun five weeks I’ve had in my team so far.

“I don’t think everyone can understand what has happened here. When you are given clarity in what you want to do and what you want to achieve and you think about things bigger than results, then it makes everything a lot easier and it takes away the external pressure of what international sport can throw at you as an individual and a team.”

Stokes said England’s aim was to be more fearless than any other team.

“The change, you know, you’re talking about mindset and everything like that, but when you’ve got real clarity in what you want to achieve as a team and how you want to play it makes things a lot easier,” he said.

Ben Stokes has made a remarkable start to life as England’s new Test captain

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“We know what we were going to do – we knew we were always going to go out and try and chase that down from the get-go. A great way to explain is that teams are perhaps better than us, but teams won’t be braver than us. Jack Leach said that to me about two minutes ago and it is a great way to sum things up at the moment.”

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