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Other SportsStokes hails 'greatest triumph' as England clinch stunning win in India

Stokes hails ‘greatest triumph’ as England clinch stunning win in India

Ben Stokes hailed the “greatest triumph” of his tenure as England captain after Ollie Pope and Tom Hartley starred in the tourists’ dramatic 28-run win in the first Test against India.

England completed one of the best away wins in their history on Sunday, recovering from a first-innings deficit of 190 to topple India in a remarkable finish in Hyderabad.

Pope’s incredible knock of 196 set India a target of 231, then spinner Hartley posted figures of 7-62 on his Test debut as England made the most of the extra half-hour at the end of the fourth day.

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After an alarming middle-order collapse put India under pressure, KS Bharat and Ravichandran Ashwin put on a defiant stand of 78 to inspire hope among the home fans.

Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj stepped in after their dismissals to drag India within 28, but Siraj was stumped by Ben Foakes off Hartley to spark wild celebrations among the touring party.

Stokes has overseen plenty of memorable successes since replacing Joe Root as red-ball skipper in 2022, but he believes this was the pick of the bunch.

“We’ve had a lot of fantastic moments as a team, great wins. But given where we are and who we are playing, I think it’s our greatest triumph since I have been captain,” he said.

“Before the series started, we knew how much of a beast India are at home.

“But the way we responded to being so far behind, it was testament to everything we have said and lived and breathed over the last two years.

“But we’ve got four Tests left. It’s about backing up this performance now. We know that India are going to come back harder at us.

“They are an incredibly tough team but if we can keep standing up to them, it’s a good sign for us. We are very proud to be 1-0 up but there is a long way to go.”

India skipper Rohit Sharma, meanwhile, believed the hosts lacked courage during the chase, saying: “When you are put against a wall, you need to show character and you need to be brave enough, which I thought we weren’t.

“We wanted to take some chances… we didn’t take chances with the bat. But that can happen.

“You got to take your hat off and say ‘well played’ to Ollie Pope. That was some serious knock. Having gotten the lead of 190, we thought we were very much in the game, but then it was exceptional batting, probably the best that I have seen in Indian conditions by an overseas batter.”

The teams now head to Visakhapatnam for the second Test, which begins on Friday.

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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