ENG vs SA: Ben Stokes says England can recover from South Africa thrashing
ENG vs SA: England captain Ben Stokes said after the team’s humiliating loss to a “relentless” South Africa in the first Test at Lord’s that his team “can’t be fantastic every day.”
The Proteas won by an innings and 12 runs in less than three days of play, with England being dismissed for just 149 before tea on Friday after scoring a pitiful 165 in their first innings.
This was England’s first loss under new captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum after Joe Root’s captaincy ended after a run of only one victory in 17 Test matches.
Since Stokes and former New Zealand captain McCullum assumed their positions, England had won all four of their prior Test matches.
The winning performances in the fourth innings were memorable for their aggressive batting, which included a brilliant run chase of 378 to defeat India at Edgbaston last month.
In the second Test against South Africa, which begins on Thursday at Old Trafford and in which England will attempt to tie the three-match series, Stokes stressed that the team had no intention of withdrawing into themselves.
“We’ve got a certain way we want to play,” he said. “We know we can be an incredibly hard team to play against if we execute that, hard to beat.
“We can’t be great every day. This week was just off for us. But we’re not going to hold on to it for too long. And carry any baggage to Manchester,” the all-rounder added.
Despite the coach’s distaste for the phrase, McCullum’s nickname has inspired the name of England’s strategy: “Bazball.”
Stokes was certain that England were about more than just playing “gung-ho” cricket regardless of the match scenario. After they were frequently defeated by South African fast bowlers Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje at Lord’s.
“Not only do we speak about wanting to put pressure on to the opposition. But there are going to be times when we need to absorb that pressure,” the skipper said.
“I felt we were absorbing a lot of pressure this week because of how South Africa bowled. Especially those spells from Nortje and Rabada on day one.
“When we do have to absorb, we try to do it in a positive way. But the way they bowled… they were just relentless.
“You have to hold your hands up sometimes. When you’re playing international sport, some days they (the opposition) are going to be better than you, which is fine.”