'Toughest conditions I have faced in my 70-Tests as a batsman': Ben Stokes on India pitches
After India spinners Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin once again spun a web around England batsmen to bowl them out for 205 on Day 1 of the fourth Test match in Ahmedabad, all-rounder Ben Stokes said ‘these are the hardest conditions’ that he has ever faced as a batsman in his Test career.
England opted to bat first after winning the toss but could not capitalise as Axar struck twice in his first two overs to push them on the backfoot.
The left-arm spinner picked up four wickets and senior pro Ashwin sneered three on a track that had no demons on it.
That the 205 was England’s highest score in 5 innings and the second highest after their mammoth 500-plus total in the first innings of the first Test in Ahmedabad, speaks volumes about their struggles on this tour.
"I have played like 70 odd games now, these are the hardest conditions that I have faced as a batsman. Obviously, I have played all around the world,” Stokes said at the end of the day’s play in Ahmedabad.
Stokes was England’s top-scorer with a fighting 55. The all-rounder said it is about finding a way to score on these conditions.
“I think it is a case of finding it in your own way, it's not about like you go and say 'this is what we need to do better as a group'. It is about how we can go about it as individuals and when we come back here next time, (it will be about) how we progressed as individuals because everyone plays in a different way," Stokes said.
Stokes, reflecting on this wicket, said it is a "much better" pitch than it was in the previous game.
"This morning and this afternoon, it was more about the bounce that was an issue rather than the turning in. But later in the day, the bowl started to spin a little bit more. Overall, it is a much better wicket than it was in the last game played here," the all-rounder, who was the highest run-getter for the England side -- with a score of 55 -- said.
When asked whether it was good Indian bowling or poor England batting, Stokes said: "I think it is probably a bit of both." At stumps, India's score read 24/1 with Rohit (8*) and Pujara (15*) at the crease -- trailing the visitors by 181 runs in the first innings.
(With ANI inputs)