Beating Pakistan on home turf is ‘massive’, says England skipper

Monitoring Desk

MULTAN: Skipper Ben Stokes hailed England’s Test series win in Pakistan Monday as “massive”, as the team’s new-found aggressive approach continues to pay dividends.

England beat Pakistan by 26 runs in the second Test — following their 74-run victory in the first encounter in Rawalpindi — to wrap up the series even before this week’s final match in Karachi.

Both games came on the back of aggressive batting dubbed “Bazball”, after the nickname of new coach Brendon “Baz” McCullum who has transformed the team since taking over in May. The victory gives England their eighth win in the nine Tests since McCullum and Stokes took charge. It is also England’s third series win in Pakistan, although they have not toured there in 17 years because of security fears.

“Not for one minute are we going to think it’s just another Test series win,” said Stokes, who has now three wins from as many series as captain. “Beating Pakistan in Pakistan is massive. We know what we’ve achieved, we know that it’s a very special thing in English cricket to come here and win.”

Stokes said it was “a very special time to be an England cricketer” but that the team need to keep their feet on the ground. “One thing we do is we stay in the moment,” he said.

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam, in contrast, rued repeated errors made in the first two Tests. “We are committing the same mistakes and are not able to finish the games,” said Azam, who has now lost two home series in a row after being beaten by Australia earlier this year.
Azam deplored the batting collapses evident in both innings. Still, he had praise for spinner Abrar Ahmed who grabbed 11 wickets in his debut Test.

“Ahmed used the conditions well and it was a good start for him,” he said.
The final Test begins in Karachi on Saturday.