Ben Stokes: England captain ‘blessed’ to be a part of thrilling defeat by New Zealand

Ben Stokes on the outfield after England's defeat
Ben Stokes’ side have won four out of their five Test matches this winter

England captain Ben Stokes said he felt “blessed” to have been part of their thrilling Test match against New Zealand in Wellington, despite the tourists losing by one run.

The Black Caps edged past England in one of the all-time great finishes to level the two-match series at 1-1.

“It is disappointing to not win obviously, but we look at the bigger picture,” Stokes told BT Sport.

“What everyone has enjoyed here today is probably bigger than any disappointment at the moment.”

Stokes added: “Being in that situation in the last half an hour, it is everything you wish for.

“And even though we came out on the wrong side of it, you can’t help but feel blessed that we managed to be a part of an incredible game like that.”

Speaking to BBC Sport about the moment James Anderson was dismissed to seal New Zealand’s win, Stokes said: “I didn’t know how Jimmy would react when he walked off.

“He’s been in those positions before where he’s walked off disappointed, but the fact he was walking off smiling made everything we talk and speak about true and a reality.”

James Anderson and Jack Leach walk off after the match
James Anderson, left, has not hit the winning runs in a Test in 179 appearances for England

Stokes also says he has no regrets about enforcing the follow-on despite New Zealand becoming just the fourth side in Test history to win a match having been asked to do so.

“Imagine captaining in hindsight? That’s not something I would ever do,” he added.

“It was always our game to lose once we had enforced the follow-on. The logic was our bowlers had ripped through their top order three innings in a row and we knew New Zealand had to play pretty much the perfect game to put us in a situation like this.

“Batting in the last innings chasing 250 is not something we were worried about, but you have to give huge credit to New Zealand not just for the way they batted in their second innings but the way they bowled and managed to get early wickets with not too many runs on the board.

“Other teams are allowed to pay better than us and New Zealand played better than us this week.”

New Zealand captain Tim Southee says the dramatic finale can only be good for the longest form of the game.

“I have to say it ranks right up there,” he said. “There have only been a handful of sides to be asked to follow on and win so it is pretty special. We were on the back foot after two days and the character shown over the last three days has been really pleasing.

“It is great for Test cricket the way England have been playing and it was another great Test match to be involved in. All the guys here cherish Test cricket and hopefully having matches like this will be good for Test cricket going forward.”

The dramatic final hour – how you reacted

Despite the time in the UK ticking past 3am, there were still plenty of you staying up to watch the drama unfold thousands of miles away at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.

Dyf in Somerset: Test. Match. Cricket. Is. THE. Best. Thanks England for rescuing it! #Bazball

Mike, Hastings: It’s 3.00 in the morning and I can feel my adrenaline pumping!

Mark: Win or lose, this is absolutely riveting. I can’t ever remember being up at 2:30am on a work night glued to a Test!

Michael in Amsterdam: Should have been asleep hours ago, but Test match cricket at this level is too good to miss.

Suhel Ahmed: Enthralling Test match at Basin Reserve thanks to Ben Stokes enforcing the follow-on. Without it, this match would have been over two days ago as a contest. Instead we have a classic on our hands.

Katie in Oxford: McCullum and Stokes’ England are truly a “live by the sword and die by the sword” team and it is incredibly entertaining and incredibly stressful to watch. I’m loving it.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *