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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 17 April 2024

India vs England, 4th Test Day 4: Bruised Ben Stokes blasts ‘throwaway comments’

Ben Stokes and his teammates kept squandering opportunities one after another to lose the next three Tests, and with it the series, their first defeat in the Bazball era

Our Correspondent Ranchi Published 27.02.24, 07:44 AM
Ben Stokes

Ben Stokes File image

England had several chances to dominate India in this series following their come-from-behind win in the opener in Hyderabad last month.

But Ben Stokes and his teammates kept squandering opportunities one after another to lose the next three Tests, and with it the series, their first defeat in the Bazball era.

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Poor batting, marked by mindless shot selection, has been one of the main reasons behind their downfall. Besides, they couldn’t restrict India’s first innings to within
250 despite having the hosts wobbling at 177/7 and still trailing England’s first-innings total by 176.

In their game-turning 76-run eighth-wicket partnership, Dhruv Jurel and Kuldeep Yadav were allowed easy singles with very few close-in fielders, which helped them to keep the scoreboard ticking. On Monday again, there was hardly any effort from
the Englishmen to force the issue as India captain Rohit Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal comfortably rotated the strike and picked up the odd boundaries to rake up 84 in their opening partnership.

Spinners Shoaib Bashir and Tom Hartley did try their best to keep England in the contest, but their inexperience, and not having enough to defend on a pitch that was yet to misbehave much, stood in their way.

But Stokes stayed defiant. “You can say everything is a missed chance when it doesn’t go well. But I think you’ve just got to give so much credit to the way India’s spinners bowled in that very, very crucial period of the game (on Day III),” he said at the news conference.

“When there are three world-class spinners operating in conditions like that, you know you’re going to be up against it. That period yesterday (Sunday) after lunch was the game.”

Was ruthlessness missing from England’s game? “Ruthlessness? What is it? How does it show itself?” Stokes asked.

“Everyone goes into the game with their best intentions. When it doesn’t pay off, people say we are not ruthless and when it does, they say we are. I don’t really understand the saying.

“We try to do what we thi­nk is the best way to win the game. It can be a throwaway comment when people say we are not ruthless enough. What does it mean?” the England captain shot back.

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