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'No thoughts of declaration tonight because that'd be stupid'

Source: PTI
Last updated on: February 06, 2021 21:08 IST
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Ben Stokes, who scored a stroke-filled 82 in his 124-run partnership with Joe Root on Saturday, praised his skipper's ability to dominate spin on Day 2 of the opening Test.

Joe Root and Ben Stokes stitched up a 124-run stand for the 4th wicket

IMAGE: Joe Root and Ben Stokes stitched up a 124-run stand for the 4th wicket on Day 2 of the 1st Test in Chennai on Saturday. Photograph: BCCI

A great strokemaker himself, star all-rounder Ben Stokes is in awe of Joe Root's ability to play spin bowling, saying that half of the England team's batsmen can't tackle the tweakers like their captain does.

Playing in his 100th Test, Root compiled his fifth double century on the second day of the opening Test against India in Chennai, reaching the milestone with a six off seasoned spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.

Stokes, too, played his part in making a fine 82.

 

"Yeah, it makes us all feel, you know, pretty rubbish (laughs), the way he, how easy he makes batting look. And yeah, I was quite surprised he ran down the wicket and hit a six to bring up a double (century)," Stokes said during a virtual press conference on Saturday.

"He is in phenomenal form and just makes things look very, very easy and the way that he plays spin, dominates spin and it's incredible to watch. I don't think half the England batsmen ever play spin in the way that he does.

"He's just got options, he has got an option for everything that's thrown at him and yeah, it is just a delight to watch him at the moment," Stokes added.

Thanks to Root's monumental 218 and Stokes's knock, England reached 555 for eight by stumps on Day 2, and the all-rounder had no qualms in admitting that his team was in a very strong position.

"Yeah, it's nice coming back in with a (knock like that), with a bit time off and now spending some time out in the middle, but all in all I think we're in a very strong position as a team.

"Batting first and after putting ourselves in and being 500 or whatever we are, still with two wickets remaining (going into) day three is very strong position," Stokes said.

He said the England team was not at all thinking about declaration on Saturday evening.

"There were no thoughts whatsoever of a declaration tonight because I'll be stupid if we won the toss and bat first, you just get as many runs as you can out here in India.

"And if we can bat for another hour tomorrow, you know, we would be very happy with that," he added.

Jos Buttler bats on Day 2. 'It is doing all sorts out there, so I think we've played really, really well as a batting unit and we've taken some big strides as a batting group'

IMAGE: Jos Buttler bats on Day 2. 'It is doing all sorts out there, so I think we've played really, really well as a batting unit and we've taken some big strides as a batting group'. Photograph: BCCI

Asked if there was enough in the surface to make it tough for the Indian batsmen, Stokes said the team deserves credit for the way it batted, adding is spin, bounce and reverse swing.

"Yeah, I think there's actually been spin, bounce and there has been reverse. I think we've just played really well. I think you've got to give us credit there. It's not exactly being the easiest (wicket).

"I think we've just given ourselves a great opportunity to get in and score runs on a pitch that is actually offering (a lot) for the bowlers. And a lot of balls spat out of the rough today and we've seen the period when Ishant Sharma bowled with a reverse swing ball and got two in two.

"It is doing all sorts out there, so I think we've played really really well as a batting unit and we've taken some big strides (as a), batting group, the way we have played, so yeah, we're really happy," he added.

When asked if he thought the pitch would deteriorate, Stokes said it would get dry but "that doesn't give us the right to bowl them out twice."

"It's going to get dry, it's going to break up, deteriorate but just because we've gone out there and scored some big first-innings runs, that doesn't give us a right to bowl them out twice."

England are aware of the fact that they will also have to toil for wickets over the next couple of days.

"We know we still have got a lot of hard work to do as a bowling unit because it is tough to take 20 wickets anywhere, but you know out here, sometimes 20 wickets is hard to come by, so we know we've got a big challenge ahead of us," Stokes said.

Stokes also said India bowlers need a lot of credit for their hard work.

"I've got to give credit to India, they just kept toiling away, especially Jasprit (Bumrah) and Ishant (Sharma). They just keep kept running in and Ishant got the rewards that he deserved when the ball started to reverse.

"So yeah, we've just got to keep doing the same and sometimes out here it's a game of patience as to who can stay boring the longest."

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