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Other SportsIndia v England: Stokes hails young spinners despite series defeat

India v England: Stokes hails young spinners despite series defeat

Ben Stokes hailed young spinners Shoaib Bashir and Tom Hartley after they almost conjured up an amazing escape act for England.

The tourists went into the fourth day of the fourth Test against India with the home side requiring just 192 runs to win and secure a 3-1 series triumph.

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And at 84 without loss it seemed they would achieve their goals with minimum fuss.

But Hartley got the key wicket of India captain Rohit Sharma before Bashir’s three for 79 reduced the hosts to 120 for five to put England back in with a chance.

Shubman Gill and Dhruv Jurel had other ideas, though, and their 72-run partnership saw India home.

Stokes said: “I think it was a great Test match. The scoreline says India win by five wickets but I don’t think that gives enough credit to sum up the game as a whole.

“There were so many ebbs and flows, and I’ve got to give so much credit to our spinners Tom Hartley and Shoaib Bashir for how they performed not only today, but during the whole Test match. Being exposed like that, at such an early stage of their careers, it’s incredible and I couldn’t be more proud of them in particular but also the whole team for the performances this week.”

Neither Hartley nor Bashir had played for England prior to this series and Stokes said he would continue to place his faith in youth, adding: “That’s the way I am as a captain – allowing these guys to come into what could be a very intimidating situation against India in a Test match, to treat every ball as on occasion rather than thinking something in the past that can’t be changed. 

“The series has shown a lot of talent, for us and India. I love Test cricket and we’ve seen some young, inexperienced players perform and the future looks bright in this format.”

India have also uncovered a couple of gems in this series in Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jurel, a situation forced upon them by a raft of injuries to key players.

Sharma said: “It’s been a very hard-fought series, so to come out on the right side of it feels very good. A lot of challenges have been thrown at us but we responded and were quite composed. 

“These guys want to be here, growing up in the domestic circuit, local club-cricket, and coming here. It’s a big challenge, but the responses I get are encouraging. We have to give them the environment they want to be in, we can’t just keep talking to them, they are very clear in what they want to do. 

“Jurel showed composure, calmness and shots all round the wicket. His first-innings 90 was crucial, and again in the second innings along with Gill.

“It’s not pleasing when you miss key players, but there’s nothing we can do as a group. To fill their shoes was not easy, but they responded really well. When you make a mark like that, you hold yourself in a good position for a long career. This will motivate them.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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