Stokes confident in England's ability to reclaim the Ashes
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Following their nail-biting three-wicket victory over Australia at Headingley, England captain Ben Stokes is optimistic about England’s chances of winning back the Ashes. With two consecutive losses in the first two Tests, England knew they had to win all the remaining matches in the five-match series to regain the iconic urn. Stokes expressed his unwavering belief that England can emerge victorious in the series from this point onwards.
It has been a long time since a team has come back from a 2-0 deficit to win the Ashes, with the last occurrence taking place in the 1936-37 series when Don Bradman’s Australia emerged triumphant. England’s successful run chase in Leeds on the fourth day, fueled by Harry Brook’s impressive innings of 75, provided a glimmer of hope. However, in order to turn their aspirations into reality, England must defeat Australia in the upcoming matches at Old Trafford and The Oval, venues where the competition has been fiercely contested.
“It was another thrilling game that went down to the wire,” Stokes acknowledged after the match. “It’s satisfying to come out on top and keep our hopes alive.”
Ben Stokes expressed the significance of England’s recent Test victory in the context of the Ashes series, highlighting the team’s determination to keep their hopes of reclaiming the urn alive. After two tightly contested matches, securing another close win in the third Test provided a psychological boost for the team.
Reflecting on the first two matches that didn’t go their way, Stokes acknowledged the importance of winning the third Test and breaking the pattern of close defeats. He emphasized that the victory was just the initial step in their larger mission.
Stokes also commended the impactful performances of Mark Wood, Chris Woakes, and Moeen Ali, who were brought into the side for the third Test. The captain emphasized the team’s focus on assessing the potential impact of players and how they can contribute to the game. In this regard, all three players made significant contributions during the week.
Woakes, who had been out of the Test side since March 2022, not only took six wickets in the match but also played a crucial role in the tense fourth-innings run-chase. His unbeaten knock of 32, including vital partnerships with Harry Brook and Mark Wood, proved instrumental in securing the victory.
According to Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes’ lengthy absence from red-ball cricket didn’t concern him at all. Stokes praised Woakes as a consistent performer and a valuable asset, particularly highlighting his batting prowess at number eight, which provides immense support to the team. Woakes’ ability to excel when the ball is moving in the air or off the pitch makes him a key player in the game.
Stokes also expressed admiration for Mark Wood’s impressive pace, particularly in the first innings where he claimed a five-wicket haul. Wood’s lower-order batting was equally impactful, adding entertainment and valuable runs to the team’s total.
The England captain acknowledged the game-changing impact of having a bowler who can consistently bowl at speeds of 95mph. Wood’s ability to take wickets and generate excitement regardless of the end from which they come is a valuable asset. Stokes appreciated Wood’s free-spirited approach to batting, emphasizing his clarity of thought and willingness to take on the game, even if it doesn’t always result in success.
Although Moeen Ali’s role was not as significant in the match after replacing the injured Ollie Pope, Stokes still praised his desire to make an impact. Moeen’s two wickets in the second innings were important, and despite being dismissed cheaply while batting at number three, he had expressed his eagerness to take on the challenge and make a difference higher up the order.
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