Ben Stokes on Dharamsala surface

Ben Stokes on Dharamsala surface


Tags: England tour of India 2024,
India vs England, 5th Test at Dharamsala, Mar 07-11, 2024,
Benjamin Andrew Stokes

Published on: Mar 07, 2024

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England captain Ben Stokes described the Dharamsala pitch for the fifth Test against India as an absolute belter. He said that after looking at the surface they decided to go in with two seamers and two spinners for the game.

As they have done so often recently, England named their playing XI for the Dharamsala Test a day ahead of the game. The visitors made one change to their team – fast bowler Mark Wood replacing Ollie Robinson.

Speaking a pre-match press conference, Stokes explained that they took a decision on the playing XI based on the surface on offer. Dharamsala is colder than other times at this point of the year. However, with no grass on the surface, the batters could enjoy themselves.

“Before we even got here, we were probably thinking it was going to be a three seamer one spinner attack but then when we saw the wicket and then saw it again today, I think going with two seamers and two spinners is probably the right call,” Stokes said.

“We felt there would probably a bit more grass on the wicket just because of where we are but overall the wicket looks an absolute belter. So playing two seamers and still having Bash (Shoaib Bashir) and Tom (Hartley) gives us a good mixture when you are a little bit unsure of what it will do as the Test goes on,” he elaborated.

Following their defeat in the fourth Test in Ranchi, England suffered their first series defeat in the ‘Bazball’ era [Stokes as captain and Brendon McCullum as coach]. Stokes, however, asserted that looking beyond the score line they have definitely made progress in the series.

“At 3-1, you think it’s not been a success but I look at it with completely different angles to that and I think we have definitely progressed as a team even though we haven’t got the results we wanted. You know, 3-2 sounds better than 3-1 or 4-1 and that’s obviously what we are looking to do,” the England captain said.

“It’s not worked out that way in terms of results but we have got one last push here which is great at the end of a long tour when you play five games. It’s a great ground to do it at and a lot of Barmy Army are coming in to support us this week. So, very excited,” the cricketer further commented.

The England captain also candidly admitted that barring the first Test in Hyderabad, which the visitors won, India have done better in the crunch moments and hence the results have gone their way.

“The thing I look back on is when the game has been in the balance, India have been better than us in those moments on more than one occasion,” he said.

The Dharamsala match will mark the 100th Test for both Ravichandran Ashwin and Jonny Bairstow.

–By A Cricket Correspondent


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