back icon


Tough one to swallow after getting so close: Stokes rues Lord’s loss

Last updated on 02 Jul 2023 | 04:19 PM
Google News IconFollow Us
Tough one to swallow after getting so close: Stokes rues Lord’s loss

Ben Stokes also addressed the elephant in the room, stating that the run-out was well within the laws of the game

The build-up to the 2023 Ashes was a spectacle, there were comparisons with the 2005 Ashes, and thus far, after two Tests, it has fit the bill perfectly. If it was Australia’s batting daredevilry in the first Test, it was their bowling heroics here in the second Test at Lord’s, on a pitch that looked placid for the last two days of play. 

At 45/4, chasing 371 runs, the responsibility was on the shoulders of captain Ben Stokes to summon the spirits of 2019 Headingley, a Test where he influenced the result single-handed. It was almost in that territory here at Lord’s as well when he walked out to bat. However, when wickets tumbled at the other end, Australia stared down at Stokes, anticipating a mistake. 

While Stokes did offer that chance, a catch to Steve Smith in the deep, from thereon, it was almost close to an innings of a lifetime. Not only did the left-hander play to his plans, he also ensured that Australia changed their plans, which eventually yielded the result - when the English captain was dismissed on 155. 

England skipper Stokes called it a ‘tough one’ to swallow, especially with how the Lord’s Test went down the wire. When Stokes was dismissed, England only needed 70 runs to complete what would have been a spectacular win. 

"Having experienced something like that before, it was good to look back at that and have a game plan. But unfortunately it wasn't enough today. Yeah, it got to the point where Australia changed their plans, and I changed my approach as well. Tough one to swallow, to get so close. We're 2-0 down but we've won 3-0 against NZ, 3-0 against Pakistan, so we know we can do it,” a tired yet upbeat Stokes had to say in the post-match presentation. 

At one point, England were in pole position of winning the Test, but then a rare lapse of concentration occurred when Jonny Bairstow, who thought that the over was done, stepped out of his crease. An alert Alex Carey behind the wickets meant that he was out, and the incident drew plenty of attention from all quarters. 

“Quite a lot of factors. I asked the umps if they called over, they said no. End of the day it's out. If the shoe was on the other foot, I'd have to have a think around spirit of the game. It's happened, it's out, we've got to move on,” Stokes said on the incident. 

Stokes also spoke about England’s plans, which included nearly a century of overs where there were only short balls. Kevin Pietersen, who was with the Sky Sports team, had criticised the England plans. Stokes in response, stated that the ‘efforts can’t be faulted’. 

"When you win the toss and bowl you always want to restrict them. The lads got a bit of criticism but the amount of times we went past the bat was frustrating. The efforts we put in, bowling short for hours on end [in the second innings], the efforts can't be faulted. It's tough when you have lost but a lot of positives. Reckless is an easy word to use. We've given everyone clarity about what they want to do.”

Related Article