Ben Stokes vows to move on quickly from South Africa spanking; Brendon McCullum admits England have work to do

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Captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum promised to persist with England’s new swashbuckling batting style and aggressive bowling spells to Test cricket despite being handed a heavy defeat in the first of a three-Test series against South Africa

Last Updated: 19/08/22 6:40pm

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Ben Stokes told Mel Jones that defeat to South Africa at Lord’s isn’t a wake-up call and hasn’t dented the confidence of his England side

Ben Stokes told Mel Jones that defeat to South Africa at Lord’s isn’t a wake-up call and hasn’t dented the confidence of his England side

Skipper Ben Stokes dismissed the idea that England should backtrack from their gung-ho style of play following their crushing innings-and-12-run defeat to South Africa at Lord’s.

Stokes’ men started their second innings 161 runs behind, but were unable to even take the game into the evening session on Friday following a spectacular batting implosion as they were bowled out for 149.

There were a few signs of the ‘Bazball’ aggressive batting approach which has helped England to four successive Test victories before their latest collapse inside 40 overs to the Proteas.

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Highlights from day three of the first Test between England and South Africa at Lord’s

Highlights from day three of the first Test between England and South Africa at Lord’s

“This isn’t a wake-up call or anything like that, just unfortunately we weren’t able to execute in the way we wanted to play this week and South Africa were better than us”

Ben Stokes

“Obviously we’re disappointed to lose, it would be silly for me to say anything different,” Stokes told Sky Sports.

“If we dive into this too much, one result in a three-match series, what we’re not then doing is looking forward to what we’ve got coming ahead. We’ve got two more games to bounce back from this and then hopefully look to take the series 2-1.”

Stokes was also quick to dismiss the idea England should look at their attacking style of play ahead of the second Test at Old Trafford next Thursday, saying: “Absolutely not. I look at the captains before me, captains after me, they’re always going to get criticised at certain times about the way that they want to go out and play.

“That’s just part and parcel with life, I guess. We know when we perform to our capabilities we can go out and put in some incredible performances – like everyone’s been able to see in the four games before this one.

“This isn’t a wake-up call or anything like that, just unfortunately we weren’t able to execute in the way we wanted to play this week and South Africa were better than us.”

He also played down the impact of England’s lack of first-class warm-up matches, adding: “I don’t think I want to use that situation as an excuse whatsoever.

“We’ve all played a lot of cricket. There could be an opportunity maybe to put a first-class game in there for the lads to go off and just get out there in the field.”

Stokes wants baggage-free England to bounce back

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All the best moments from day three at Lord’s…

All the best moments from day three at Lord’s…

“It was an off-game for us, and that’s absolutely fine. It’s not something I’m going to be throwing our toys out of the pram over,” Stokes said during his press-conference.

“The message from me and Baz upstairs will be, did we commit to everything the way we committed to the first four Tests of the summer?

“If everyone can say ‘yes, 100 per cent, we just didn’t execute’ then things are good. We’ll move on to the next Test match, and go out there and try and win.”

Stokes now wants his side to put the defeat behind them, with the the all-rounder saying: “It’s obviously disappointing to lose a game. Deflating is a bit extreme. I just like to ride a wave of whatever comes.

“The way we responded after the first Test match just keeps to hammer home what we’re all about. You have to live in the moment and ride the wave, whether that be of success or failure.

“We’ve got two games left. If we hold on to this for too long, and carry baggage into the next game, we’re already one step behind South Africa. I want us to be a team where we’re one step ahead.”

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McCullum: ‘South Africa deserved the victory’

“As we said at the outset, you’ve got to buckle up for the ride. It’s not nice in times like this but we’ll come back stronger”

Brendon McCullum

It was the first defeat suffered by England since the appointment of Brendon McCullum as head coach.

And McCullum admitted England were “beaten by the better horse in the race”, saying: “I thought South Africa played exceptionally well, they utilised the conditions that they were presented with and they deserved the victory.

“We’ve got a little bit of work to do but you don’t go from being a good cricket team a few weeks ago to a bad team overnight so we’ll try and maintain some of those positives and the beauty is we get an opportunity to come back in a few days’ time.”

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Brendon McCullum isn’t panicking after seeing England suffer a heavy defeat to South Africa

Brendon McCullum isn’t panicking after seeing England suffer a heavy defeat to South Africa

Like Stokes, McCullum denied England’s batsmen might have been too cavalier against a strong bowling line-up, saying: “I thought if anything we were maybe a touch timid.

“We want to be the best versions of ourselves. It’s not always going to work. As we said at the outset, you’ve got to buckle up for the ride. It’s not nice in times like this but we’ll come back stronger.”

McCullum also dismissed suggestions of over-confidence, saying: “I don’t believe at any stage we got in front of ourselves. We were just outplayed.”

Watch day one of the second LV= Insurance Test between England and South Africa, at Old Trafford, live on Sky Sports Cricket next Thursday. Coverage starts at 10am, with play getting under way at 11am.

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