According to Ben Duckett, Ben Stokes’ score of 70 could be a determining factor despite India’s powerful beginning.
The first day of the Test match against India in Hyderabad ended on a challenging note, but the English team remains optimistic. Ben Duckett praised Ben Stokes’ determined performance, acknowledging its potential to secure a victory in the end.
Stokes strategically scored 70 runs with the help of his teammates in order to convert the score from 155 for seven to 246 all out. This eased worries about the captain’s ability to lead the team on the tour after undergoing knee surgery in December. However, with India finishing the day at 119 for one, the tourists have a lot of ground to cover on the second day.
Duckett, who had previously scored 35 runs, praised Stokes saying, “He always comes through when we need him. He’s the top performer in those critical moments; the way he handled the pressure at the beginning, relied on his defense, and then took charge when we were close to losing.”
“We were pleased with our performance and the runs we were able to score. Credit goes to Stokesy for potentially making a game-changing contribution in the upcoming days.”
Although Stokes was focused and determined while batting, taking 53 balls to hit his first boundary and then adding eight more in his final 35, his decision to only have one seamer, Mark Wood, and the strategies he implemented in the field caused some surprise.
In addition to dismissing all three reviews, there was a consistent effort from Tom Hartley that resulted in him conceding 63 runs in his first nine overs of Test cricket. Stokes also chose not to have Joe Root bowl, which could have posed a new challenge for the left-handed batsman Yashasvi Jaiswal, who ultimately scored an aggressive 76 runs.
Jaiswal was extremely harsh towards Hartley, hitting a six off the first ball of the 24-year-old’s debut in Test cricket. Duckett agreed with Stokes’ choice and showed support for the new player, mentioning a close lbw review against Shubman Gill that was predicted to be going over the stumps by a small margin.
Duckett stated that some captains may replace a player after only two overs, causing them to not participate for the remainder of the match. However, Stokesy is different as he continuously allows the player to bowl and Tom almost managed to get Shubman out towards the end. It is not clear how the ball was going over the stumps, but the player made a strong comeback.
“We do not focus on containment. Instead, we prioritize taking wickets and being aggressive. This approach has been evident in our performance over the past two years.”
In his initial partnership with Zak Crawley, Duckett scored 55 runs. This was soon followed by the team losing three wickets in just 21 balls. Duckett commented, “We are pleased with our strong start. We were constantly aiming to be aggressive. In these conditions, where the ball has some pace, we push even harder.”
“They delivered some excellent deliveries, I could have been dismissed about 15 times, but I avoided playing the poor ones.”
Although the England team finished the first day feeling positive, some of the 21,000 fans who traveled to the game had complaints. Strict security protocols meant that water could not be brought into the stadium, and there were reports that bottled water was not being sold. The only option for water was long lines at water fountains.