England captain Ben Stokes hails ‘fantastic’ 74-run first Test win over Pakistan after he ‘dangled a carrot’ with risky declaration at tea on day four … as spinner Jack Leach admits win beats even his famous Headingley – cameo in 2019!
Ben Stokes hailed a “fantastic” victory after England took a remarkable 1-0 lead over Pakistan on the deadliest pitches in Rawalpindi.
And he described the 74-run victory, completed just minutes before the sun set, as one of the best he had been involved in during his 87-Test career.
“To be able to get a result on this kind of wicket is just fantastic,” he said. – I feel very honored to be able to lead these guys onto the pitch.
Ben Stokes celebrates a wicket during England’s historic win over Pakistan in the first Test
England won by 74 runs against all odds on the fifth day, only their third ever win in Pakistan
“Jimmy Anderson told me at the end that he got quite emotional. The guy’s played nearly 180 Tests, been through it all, the highs and the lows – so to hear him say that about this Test makes you realize how special a performance this week has been.’
Explaining his decision to declare tea on the fourth day, as Pakistan posted 343 on a surface that had refused to change character, Stokes said: ‘We wanted to dangle that carrot so they could feel they were always in the hunt. .
“It’s not always going to work, but if you’re brave enough to go out and play that way and lose, it’s going to be entertaining.
“That’s how I think Test cricket should be played – always looking at the entertainment side of the sport, because Test cricket is something that needs to be looked after.
England spinner Jack Leach (second left) claimed the last wicket England needed for victory
Ollie Robinson (left) celebrates the wicket of Pakistan’s Agha Salman just after tea on Monday
“If we can make a small dent in other teams’ ways of playing the game, I think it will only do Test cricket a world of good.
“We don’t want Test cricket to fall off the face of the planet. It needs to stay around and we will do everything we can as a team to keep it alive.
Spinner Jack Leach, who took the last Pakistani wicket as darkness began to descend, said this win trumped even Headingley 2019 as he helped Stokes take England to a one-wicket win over Australia.
In addition to Robinson, James Anderson also took four wickets – in another brilliant bowling display
“It’s the biggest win I think I’ve ever been involved in,” Leach said. “I just said that to Stokesy: ‘Sorry, I think it beats Headingley’.
“I felt a bit of a fraud to be honest, because these fast lads had done the job, but it was fantastic.”
Meanwhile, England all-rounder Liam Livingstone is flying home after injuring his right knee on the second day of the match and could be out for two months.