England captain Ben Stokes hails 'mind-blowing' win over Pakistan

England captain Ben Stokes hails ‘mind-blowing’ 74-run first Test win over Pakistan after he ‘dangled a carrot’ with a risky declaration at tea on day four… as spinner Jack Leach admits victory beats even his famous 2019 Headingley cameo!

  • England achieved only their third-ever victory away to Pakistan in first Test
  • Captain Stokes admitted the win was one of the best he’d been involved in
  • He declared at tea on the fourth day, setting Pakistan a gettable target of 343
  • Seamers James Anderson and Ollie Robinson steered England to unlikely win 

Ben Stokes hailed a ‘mind-blowing’ victory after England claimed a remarkable 1-0 lead over Pakistan on the deadest of pitches in Rawalpindi.

And he described the 74-run win, completed only minutes before the sun set, as one of the best he had been involved in during his 87-Test career.

‘To be able to get a result on this type of wicket is just mind-blowing,’ he said. ‘I feel very honoured to be able to lead these guys out on the field.

Ben Stokes celebrates a wicket during England’s historic victory over Pakistan in the first Test

England won by 74 runs against all odds on the fifth day, just their third-ever win in Pakistan

‘Jimmy Anderson said to me at the end that he was getting quite emotional. The guy has played nearly 180 Test matches, has experienced everything, the highs and lows – so to hear him say that about this Test makes you realise how special an achievement this week has been.’

Explaining his decision to declare at tea on the fourth day, with Pakistan set a gettable 343 on a surface that had refused to change character, Stokes said: ‘We wanted to dangle that carrot, so they could feel like they were always in the chase.

‘It’s not always going to work, but if you’re brave enough to go out and play that way and lose, it’s going to be entertaining.

‘That’s how I think Test cricket should be played – always looking at the entertainment side of the sport, because Test cricket is something that needs to be looked after.

England spinner Jack Leach (second left) claimed the final wicket England needed for victory

Ollie Robinson (left) celebrates the wicket of Pakistan’s Agha Salman just after tea on Monday

‘If we can make a little indentation into other teams’ ways of playing the game, I think that’s only going to do Test cricket the world of good.

‘We don’t want Test cricket to fall off the face of the planet. It needs to stay around and we’ll do everything we possibly can as a team to keep it alive.’

Spinner Jack Leach, who took the final Pakistan wicket as the gloom began to descend, said this win trumped even Headingley 2019, when he helped Stokes take England to a one-wicket win over Australia.

As well as Robinson, James Anderson also took four wickets – in another brilliant bowling show

‘That’s the greatest win I think I’ve ever been involved in,’ said Leach. ‘I just said that to Stokesy: ‘Sorry, I think it does beat Headingley.’

‘I felt a bit of a fraud to be honest, because these quick boys had done the work, but it was amazing.’

Meanwhile, England all-rounder Liam Livingstone is flying home after injuring his right knee on the second day of the game, and could be out for two months.

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