‘It was an off-game for us’: Ben Stokes eager to move on quickly from South Africa hammering as England lose first Test within three days to condemn all-rounder to first defeat.
- Ben Stokes has called on his England side to move on quickly from today’s defeat
- England lost the first Test to South Africa by an innings and 12 runs at Lord’s
- South Africa were in fine form and blew England away well over the course of three days
- Stokes labeled the defeat “an off-game” and tasked his team with winning the series 2–1
- Former England captain Andrew Strauss was critical of England’s approach
Ben Stokes insisted there would be no “toys thrown out of the pram” after England slumped to their first Test defeat of the new era, losing to South Africa by an innings and 12 at Lord’s.
After leading his side to four memorable wins over New Zealand and India, the England captain admitted his side had been outplayed in a match that was done and dusted in the equivalent of under two days.
But he said his players needed to move on quickly to avoid carrying baggage for next week’s second Test at Old Trafford. And he urged them to reflect on whether they had stayed true to the style of play that had produced a quartet of stirring run chases earlier in the summer.
England captain Ben Stokes saw England suffer defeat for the first time under his leadership
Anrich Nortje (right) took three wickets in the second innings to help South Africa to victory
“Whatever we threw at South Africa, they seemed to counter it,” Stokes said. “You have to give them a lot of credit. It was an off-game for us, and that’s perfectly fine. It’s not something I’m going to throw our toys out of the pram over.
“The message for me and Baz [Brendon McCullum] upstairs will be, did we commit to everything as we committed to the first four Tests of the summer?
“If everyone can say, yes, 100%, we just didn’t execute our skills, then things are good. We move on to the next test match, and go out there and try to win. We have two games left in the series, and our goal is to win 2-1.
All-rounder Stokes has backed his side to bounce back quickly and win the series 2-1
Former England captain Andrew Strauss was critical of England’s approach after the defeat
But England’s second-innings collapse for 149 in just 37.4 overs, after their first-innings surrender of 165 for 45, did not go down well with former captain Andrew Strauss, who earlier in the day had insisted there was no reason to that a team as well resourced as England should not be ranked number 1 in the world.
“I think we’re all quite surprised to see England pounce as quickly as they did,” he told Sky Sports. “There was some excellent bowling but it just looked like it all happened like a deck of cards. There was absolutely no digging and trying to find a way to gradually break the momentum.
“For all England’s brilliance so far this summer, it is high-risk cricket. Sometimes, when you play high-risk cricket, the odds conspire against you and it can look pretty ugly when it doesn’t work out.
“You can give England the benefit of the doubt in the first half. Today I’m just scratching my head. It was just too easy for me.