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Ben Stokes defended his decision to declare innings on the first day of the Edgbaston Test, saying he saw it as an opportunity to pounce on Australia.
England captain Ben Stokes has no regrets about his decisions after losing the first Test of the Ashes in a thrilling finish. Stokes and their Bazball style has received criticism from all corners for England’s decision to declare their first innings at the end of the first day.
England were 393/8 with Joe Root batting unbeaten on 118 when Stokes declared the innings. After five days of gripping action, the home side lost the match by two wickets as Pat Cummins played a superb knock of 44 not-out to see his side over the line.
Many believe England’s early declaration cost them the Test. However, Ben Stokes is not fazed by this backlash. While others thought England left 40-50 runs out there, Stokes felt the last 20 minutes of the day was an opportunity to put pressure on the Aussies.
The decision did not pay off as Australian openers saw off that tricky four-over period without losing a wicket. Usman Khawaja went on to score a century on the following day to help his side get closer to England’s first innings total. Australia chased down 281 with Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon adding 55 runs for the ninth wicket. The declaration came under the scanner yet again as England could’ve used some more runs.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) June 20, 2023
“I could also turn it around and say, ‘if we didn’t declare, would we have got the excitement that we did at the end of day five?’ I’m not a hundred percent sure, but I’m not going to be looking back on this game as ‘what ifs’… the reality is, we just didn’t manage to get over the line.” Stokes said after the match.
While the Australian captain Cummins said he would not have declared in that position, his English counterpart said he will not change the way they have played so far.
“I thought that was a time to pounce. I am not going to change the way I have gone about my cricket because it is the Ashes. Who knows? We could have got an extra 40 runs or lost two wickets in two balls. I am not a captain who gets by on what ifs,” Stokes added.
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