Eng vs NZ, 1st Test, Lord’s, 2022 – Ben Stokes

Two players, good friends, both winners. But the contrast in Ben Stokes and Joe Root’s delight at England’s first win over New Zealand was palpable at Lord’s on Sunday.

Root, as he himself admits, unburdened by the captaincy – not so much in terms of his personal performance after another century of winning, his 26th in Tests to fetch 10,000 runs – but free of all the other stuff packed into the role which he relinquished after the ill-fated spring tour of the Caribbean looked like a man thoroughly relieved.

Stokes, on the other hand, radiated all the enthusiasm of a man who had just won his first game since he took over the captaincy and began working with new coach Brendon McCullum, along with the determination of a leader who knows his team” a long way for us”.

“It’s not overnight,” Stokes said. “This is what me and Brendon are trying to work towards and we know that, but a great start to win.”

So while England ushered in a new era with victory – ending a run of nine Tests without – it wasn’t a complete turnaround. Some of the old problems persist.

They were out for 141 in their first innings, only marginally better than New Zealand’s 132, and they were 69 for 4 in their second, trailing 277, before Stokes and Root held things steady with a partnership of 90 runs for the fifth wicket. Root and Ben Foakes then sealed the result just over an hour into the fourth day with a solid 120.

But as to be expected, Stokes really seems to have found everything that McCullum has introduced in terms of mindset and tactics. For example, Stokes revealed that the plan had been to send Stuart Broad at number 8, for debutant Matthew Potts, on the third night if necessary.

“When Foakesy went out to bat, he would send Broady in if we lost the wicket to start slogging, just to score 30, 40 runs, the game is over,” said Stokes. “That’s the kind of thing we’re not used to in the locker room. Filtering things like that around will do us the world of good.

“The confidence and energy he brings about, his mentality towards the game, he will make everyone feel ten feet tall in whatever situation we find ourselves in and I have really enjoyed working with him so far this week. it. “

Towards the end of Root’s tenure, during the failed Ashes campaign, he felt his working relationship with veteran seamen Broad and James Anderson had deteriorated and, sure enough, the duo were dropped off the West Indies tour.

One of the first moves of the new regime was to bring the two straight back into the fold to face New Zealand, with Anderson and Potts each taking four wickets in the first innings, while Broad’s three wickets, most notably his two-in-three balls as part of a team hat-trick turned the game upside down during the third morning.

When asked what he was most proud of in his first game at the helm, Stokes emphasized his use of Anderson, Broad and Durham team-mate Potts.

“Everyone knows what Jimmy and Broady are up to,” he said. “The only difference in the role Matty played was that he normally takes the new ball for Durham. But throughout the summer Scotty is [Borthwick], the captain of Durham, has turned to him to get the wicket, get the breakthrough, change the game, and that’s how I wanted to use him this week. And he did it every time I threw him the ball.

“Always trying to be positive and just really stay true to what I said and how I want to be captain and not let the game dictate what I did. I just made sure to still stick to my guns and was always looking for positive in the way I wanted the bowlers to bowl, the fields I set up… stick to everything you’ve been talking about because you know actions speak louder than words.”

Stokes was full of praise for Root, as well as Foakes, who played a mature knockout for his 32 not 92 balls.

“We’re not in a position right now not to select world-class players,” said Stokes, “and Ben is the best wicket-keeper in the world. That’s not just my opinion, that’s the opinion of a lot of people.

“Hitting at seven, what he does for England is different from the part he plays for Surrey, as he hits higher, but going in for 45 minutes last night was a very, very big part of the game and he went there very take good care of it.” And if he doesn’t go out with Joe by the end, he’ll no doubt give him a lot of confidence going into the rest of the summer.

“He took some catches which he thought looked really easy but they weren’t and to have a glove man like Ben behind the stumps gives me a lot of confidence and it gives the bowlers a lot of confidence .”

When asked how he managed to park the captaincy ‘after the hours’, so to speak, in light of Root’s searingly honest press conference moments earlier, in which he outlined how heavily the role was beginning to affect his life outside of cricket, Stokes was relaxed.

That said, he also admitted he had a relatively easy task on what turned out to be the final morning, having lost his wicket the previous evening after contributing a valuable if somewhat streaky half-century.

“It’s been good,” he shrugged. “It was my birthday last night and I didn’t have much to do today so it was nice to go out for dinner with the family and have a few beers so I slept pretty well,” he said.

“It’s a great start, we won, of course there will be ups and downs. And it’s just about dealing with that, but I think with me and Brendon in charge, it’s going to be very important how we operate when things are not going well.”

Despite England’s success, McCullum declined to represent the media after the match, presumably to let his new captain Stokes and match winner Root enjoy the moment.

Valkerie Baynes is general editor at ESPNcricinfo

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