Ben Stokes Reflects on England’s Defeat: Acknowledging India’s Superior Skill

In a hard-fought battle between England and India, Ben Stokes, the England captain, acknowledged India’s superior skill after his team’s defeat in Ranchi.

Despite England’s strong start, India’s spin trio of R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, and Kuldeep Yadav proved to be formidable, ultimately leading India to a five-wicket victory.

Ben Stokes Reflects on England’s Defeat: Acknowledging India’s Superior Skill

Ben Stokes remained unapologetic about his team’s batting performance in the second innings, even though England let a chance to tie the series in Ranchi fall short. Day three saw England bowled out for 145 after establishing a 46-run lead in the first innings. Stokes referred to the conditions as nearly “impossible” to bat on. However, India rallied to win by five wickets on the fourth afternoon.

Following a promising start, England gradually lost momentum. Only Zak Crawley, who hit his third half-century of the series, and Jonny Bairstow, with 30 off 42, gave scores of note. While batting with the tail, Ben Foakes put in nearly an hour and a half for 17 runs off 76 balls. England lost their final seven wickets for 35 runs from 25.5 overs, and the spin trio of R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, and Kuldeep Yadav shared all ten wickets between them.

With the win, India took a commanding 3-1 lead in the series going into the final Test, which is scheduled to begin on March 7 in Dharamsala.

At the post-match presentation, Stokes was asked about his team’s batting performance overall. “I think we’ve been good in periods,” he replied. When we had our turn at bat yesterday, it was, I believe—I don’t want to say impossible, because I don’t think anything is impossible—extremely difficult because of the conditions you faced against Ashwin, Jadeja, and Kuldeep. It gets really difficult to score, especially if you want to prolong the game as much as we did.

“We didn’t anticipate that the pitch would improve, and I believe that today has proven that.” Now, let me say this: I believe that the manner the Indian spinners performed yesterday made it very difficult for us to both score and rotate the strike. That brief time there was quite difficult.
In an interview with TNT Sport, he continued, “Isn’t cricket a game of skill against skill?” “When you look at it like that, skill vs skill their skill was better than ours on this occasion.”


India’s openers achieved 40 runs in eight overs before day three ended, surpassing the predetermined target of 192 to win. The following morning, Rohit Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal continued their partnership until 84, at which point Joe Root broke through for England. 

After that, India lost 5 for 36 on either side of lunch as Tom Hartley and Shoaib Bashir increased the pressure. However, Shubman Gill and Dhruv Jurel’s uninterrupted partnership of 72 led India to victory.

Stokes remarked, “I thought it was a great Test match.” “I don’t think the scoreboard, which reads India wins by five wickets, really does the game justice.” I must give our spinners, Tom Hartley and Shoaib Bashir, a great deal of credit for the daily ebbs and flows that occurred.

It’s amazing how well they performed during the entire Test match, especially today, given how early in their career they were exposed to such circumstances. I’m incredibly happy of the team for our performance this week and what we’ve thrown at India, but I’m especially proud of those two people.”

In the first innings of India’s innings, 20-year-old off-spinner Shikhar Bashir claimed his first five-wicket haul in his first-class career. He finished with match figures of 8 for 198, while Hartley took 4 for 138 to take the lead in wicket-taking for the series, surpassing Jasprit Bumrah. In India’s second innings, they bowled 51 of the 61 overs between them.

Ranchi was only Hartley’s eighth time to bowl in the fourth innings of a first-class match, a sign of the attack’s inexperience even though his seven-for on debut had helped bowl England to victory in the first Test in Hyderabad. Bashir had previously accomplished this for Somerset, bowling two overs to help Surrey reach a target of 29.

Stokes said, “It was amazing,” to TNT. “I think their character was just as impressive as their performance. When two young spinners at the beginning of their careers come out on day four to attempt and bowl India out for a very small target, it should be really terrifying for them. Because of the wicket, we believed we were always in the game, but they never gave up, and their excitement for the game and body language never gave us any indication that we were defeated.”

“That’s the way I am as a person,” said Stokes, speaking of his strategy for leading his youthful spin attack on tour, which has also featured 19-year-old Rehan Ahmed. That is my identity as a captain. By giving these young players the freedom to run up and treat every ball as an occasion instead of worrying about something that is already happening and cannot be changed, it’s enabling them to enter a pretty intimidating situation—Test cricket against India, who are an extremely difficult team to come out and play against.

“I believe that this series has, thus far, shown off a great deal of skill for both India and us. I adore Test cricket and am an avid cricket fan. Additionally, I believe that Test cricket has a bright future because both sides have produced some young, inexperienced stars.”

Following a surprising 1-0 lead, England has now lost three straight games, and this is Stokes and Brendon McCullum’s first series loss as Test team managers since the summer of 2022. However, Stokes, as he had done during a run of 13 victories in 18 games before traveling to India, commended his players’ effort rather than dwelling too much on the outcome.

“You come into series and obviously want to win, you want to win games of cricket,” he stated. “But you know, after two years here, my message hasn’t changed. It concerns the feedback that each team member provides. I believe we’re not dedicating ourselves to the fullest extent possible—both as a team and as individuals—if you obsess over the result. Each and every Test match participant has given it their all on the field. On that field, nothing has ever been left out. And all we expect of our players is that.”

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