England captain Ben Stokes has said his side’s ‘off-game’ is ‘no problem’ after a humiliating innings and 12-run defeat to South Africa in the first Test at Lords. claimed.
The hosts were comprehensively overwhelmed as the Proteas won within three days. This reverse England’s first loss was a fourth consecutive win under the new Red Ball leadership duo of skipper Stokes and coach Brendon McCallum.
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It was the first time England had suffered four defeats in 128 years of Test matches at Lords since Graeme Smith’s South African side enjoyed a similar blow in 2003.
“It was out of the game for us. That’s totally fine,” Stokes said. “I’m not going to throw the toy out of the stroller.”
England were already in dire straits when they started their second innings before lunch on Friday, with the hosts 161 runs behind after South Africa made 326 in response to a meager 165 innings.
They then fell to 149 before tea in a match in which England struck just 82.4 overs in both innings.
A far cry from the dynamic run-scoring England have chased for some high totals this season, including 378 in beating India at Edgbaston last month.
On Friday, in stark contrast, starter Alex Leeds and trailing Stuart Broad shared a joint top score of 35 in England’s dismal second innings.
And the world took notice immediately.
But Stokes said it was important that England not overreact.
“The message from me and Buzz[McCallum]upstairs is, did we commit everything the way we committed in the first four tests of the summer?” he said.
“If everyone can say ‘yes 100%, we just didn’t do it’, that’s good. We’ll move on to the next test match and fight for the win.”
There were few signs of England’s new ‘buzzball’ approach to batting in the Test match as Stokes’ men struggled 38-2 after South African left-arm spinner Keshab Maharaj hit a double at lunchtime.
Express fast bowler Henrich Nolce produced an excellent burst of three wickets in a no-run for ten balls. This may have tested batsmen with better defensive techniques than what England showed on Friday.
But Stokes, who succeeded Joe Root as England captain after winning just one out of 17 Tests, will play the second game of a three-match series at Old Trafford on Thursday. Earlier, he said there was no need to dwell on this loss.
“If you’re going to keep this up and carry the load to the next game, you’re already one step behind South Africa,” he added.
“We want to be a team that is one step ahead.”
McCallum strengthened that message by stating:
“Stokesey and I are both very hard on how we want this team to play.”
The former New Zealand captain added:
“I couldn’t do that in this match and I lost.
“I’ve been in the game long enough to know that it’s a very sensitive margin and you can’t overreact.
“We will take a closer look at the situation within the group over the next few days and then recharge for Manchester.”
first published as South Africa destroyed England in Rhodes and the world is ravaging Pomme
South Africa beat England in first test, world reacts, buzzball
Source link South Africa beat England in first test, world reacts, buzzball