• Saturday, April 13, 2024


England captain Ben Stokes earns 100th Test cap with Rajkot match

RAJKOT, INDIA – FEBRUARY 13: England captain Ben Stokes during a nets session at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium on February 13, 2024 in Rajkot, India. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Eastern EyeBy: Eastern Eye

BEN STOKES earned his 100th Test cap when he lead England against India in the third Test that began Thursday (15) in Rajkot, with both sides having to contend with the absence of key players.

The five-match series is on a knife-edge at 1-1 after India’s 106-run victory in the second Test in Visakhapatnam followed England’s 28- run win in Hyderabad.

Batsmen Virat Kohli and KL Rahul was absent for India while England’s senior spinner Jack Leach has been ruled out of the final three matches with a knee injury suffered in the first Test.

Stokes, 32, was lauded for his leadership after England won the opener in Hyderabad to hand India only their fourth Test loss at home since 2013 and then aggressively chased 399 in Visakhapatnam before falling short.

England have won 14 Tests out of 20 since Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum took the reins with an attacking style dubbed “Bazball”, but one former great thinks the term is over[1]played. “Much of England’s success has been attributed to ‘Bazball’ – the desire to score quickly and tactically rattle the opposition –but this is a misnomer,” former Australia captain Ian Chappell was quoted as saying on Cricinfo.

“What Stokes has really done is set out to achieve victory from ball one by playing aggressive cricket – in all aspects of the game,” he said.

All-rounder Stokes, who is playing in the series as a batsman after recovering from knee surgery, has scored 6,251 runs and taken 197 wickets since his Test debut in 2013.

“To play 100 Tests is an unbelievable achievement,” batsman Ollie Pope, who scored a match-winning 196 in the opening Test, told reporters on Tuesday (13).

“Obviously, he’s had his highs and lows but what he’s done since being a captain has been amazing… He’s probably changed the game in all aspects.”

The England squad travelled to Abu Dhabi for a rest and to spend time with family members after the second Test but are already back training in Rajkot.

Rohit Sharma’s side started the series with the defeat in Hyderabad after Pope’s brilliant knock turned the game on its head despite India having taken a 190-run first-innings lead.

In Visakhapatnam, India survived some nervy moments during England’s spirited chase before securing the series-levelling win.

India spinner Ravichandran reached 500 Test dismissals in the match.captain Ben Stokes earns 100th Test cap with Rajkot match

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