England made India forget how to play the third innings, indicates Stokes

by IANS |

Edgbaston, July 6 (IANS) England Test skipper Ben Stokes has indicated that England probably won the Test against India in the third innings when they restricted the tourists' lead to below 400 in the rescheduled fifth Test at Edgbaston.

The all-rounder also indicated that the Jasprit Bumrah-led side was quite clueless in the sense that they did not know what they had to do batting in the second innings after taking a handsome first-innings lead.

"Look at how teams will be viewing us at the moment, that third innings now has become a fourth innings, because they have to concentrate on how we're going to play, and they're worried about that," Stokes said following the seven-wicket victory.

"So to be in that position as a team, being feared before they've even finished their innings is an unbelievable place to be in. Teams don't know how to play the third innings (against England), especially when they've got a lead," he added.

The England skipper won the toss against India but elected to bowl first knowing that his side had successfully chased fourth-innings targets of 299, 296 and 277 in the three Tests against New Zealand last month.

India set a target of 378 in Edgbaston which England cruised to for the loss of three wickets as former skipper Joe Root (142 not out) and Jonny Bairstow (114 not out) guided them home with an unbroken 269-run stand.

With a newfound confidence in batting fourth, England have chased down big targets in each of the four Tests they have played since Stokes took over the leadership role from Root. Under Root's stewardship, England had won just one of 17 Tests and plummeted to the bottom of the ICC World Test Championship standings.

Four consecutive win have pushed England two places higher to seventh. "We are trying to rewrite how Test cricket is being played, in England especially. All the different plans that we put together over the last four or five weeks, for every different situation is something we'll look to carry forward.

"It's not always about bowling top of off or drying up, it's how are we going to take wickets? That's what you need to do as a bowling attack, take 10 wickets," he added.

England will now move to a limited-overs series at home with three T20Is and three ODIs against both India and South Africa. They will then look to continue their superb white-ball and Test form in a three-Test series against South Africa that starts on August 17 with a clash at Lord's.

"We know that we want to give new life to Test cricket, and the way that we go about it, and the support that we've received over the last five weeks has been incredible. It's amazing, in such a short space of time, we feel like we are bringing a new set of fans to the game.

"Inspiring the next generation is what we want to do, this game at the moment is bigger than results for us, it's about people who come in to represent England in the future, guys who come into the dressing room after. We want to leave a mark on Test cricket," added Stokes.

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