Ashes, England vs Australia | Have to hit the ground running: Ben Stokes
Ahead of the upcoming Ashes series, England’s all-rounder Ben Stokes has said that the team needs to hit the ground running and stamp their authority in the match from the very start.
“You can’t feel your way into any Ashes series. You have to hit the ground running. That first morning is when you want to stamp your authority on the series with bat and ball. Getting off to a good start can make it flow throughout the series, so you want to be the team on top and you want to win that first day. If you go 1-0 down in a series it can be hard to come back from,” ESPN Cricinfo quoted Stokes as saying.
Stokes praised Australia’s batsman David Warner and said dismissing him early in his innings would hold the key for England.
Warner, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft will be making their return to the Test side after facing a one-year ban for their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal against South Africa in 2018.
“It’s definitely important to put them under pressure if they bat first. Davey Warner is a player who can take games away from you. He is a phenomenal batsman and very dangerous opener so to tie him down and not let him establish his authority against us would be a really big plus for us for the rest of the series. The drive is going to be there for him to perform. And it will be the same for Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith,” Stokes said.
England were recently bundled out for 85 in the first innings against Ireland in the one-off Test match at Lord’s Cricket Ground as Tim Murtagh scalped five wickets.
Ireland went on to score 207 runs, gaining a 122-run lead, but England managed to score 303 runs in their second innings, giving Ireland a target of 182 runs.
Ireland clearly showed inexperience as they were dismissed for 38 (seventh-lowest total in the history of Test cricket), handing England a win by 143 runs.
Stokes was given a rest in the match against Ireland after his heroics in the World Cup final against New Zealand.
“You saw Lord’s: it was a bowler’s paradise. So if two of our guys can step up and get three or four hundred runs in the series it will massively help our chances. It’s going to be a batsman than wins the urn,” Stokes said.
“I did not play that Test match against Ireland. I felt I needed time away; time at home. I needed to be in my own house, in my own bed and be with the family to recharge my batteries. That helped me. It was probably a week later I could concentrate on the Ashes,” he added.
New Zealand-born Stokes had played a crucial role in England’s World Cup victory as he starred for the hosts in the final match against New Zealand. The left-hander played a knock of 84 runs in the final and finished with 465 runs in the tournament.
Stokes is also likely to receive knighthood after showcasing a match-winning performance in the final as both candidates for the next UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt had expressed their desire to give the player ‘knighthood’.
England scripted history on July 14 by claiming their first-ever World Cup title. The final will be remembered for ages as neither the 50-over nor the subsequent super over action could separate the teams.
In the end, England were declared as the winner on the basis of boundary countback rule. The hosts had hit 26 boundaries as compared to New Zealand’s 17 boundaries in the match.