England’s 74-run victory over Pakistan on a lifeless Rawalpindi track will rank among their greatest Test victories away from home, captain Ben Stokes said on Monday.
England pulled off a memorable victory in fading light and barely 10 minutes before the close of play to reward Stokes’s bold declaration on Sunday.
Chasing 343 for an improbable victory, a dogged Pakistan nearly snatched a draw but pace bowlers James Anderson and Ollie Robinson produced a reverse-swing masterclass to deny them.
“It’s a great place to be, and I think it’s up there with one of England’s greatest away Test match wins,” Stokes said at the presentation ceremony.
“Jimmy Anderson said he was feeling very emotional trying to keep himself together.
“Having a bloke who’s played nearly 180 Test matches to feel like that at the end of this, I think we’ve achieved something very special this week.”
Since former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum took over the coaching reins, England have played a highly entertaining brand of Test cricket.
“We wanted to come here in Pakistan and carry on with our mantra of exciting cricket giving ourselves the best opportunity to win a Test match,” Stokes said.
“I have got no interest in playing for the draws…we always try to look at the positive option.”
Stokes stood out for his inspirational leadership in the match – especially his astute handling of his bowlers and attacking field setting.
“On wickets like this, you have to make things happen — score your runs quickly and then make some pretty rash and bold decisions with the field placing and bowling changes and stuff like that,” he said.
“I think we have played eight-nine Test matches now, and one thing we try and do is focus on ourselves, rather than the opposition.”
“We have got some broken bodies after that. It’s amazing to see the amount of enthusiasm and heart the lads showed,” he added.
“I don’t think I have seen a group of players who have put their bodies on the lines like that.”
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