(Photo: Getty Images)
By Harvey Burgess
Alastair Cook has hailed the performance of Ben Stokes after England beat Bangladesh by 22 runs in the first Test in Chittagong. The Durham all-rounder took the last two wickets on the final morning to maintain England’s record of never having lost to Bangladesh in Test cricket.
Stokes shared a vital partnership of 127 with Jonny Bairstow in England’s second innings to keep his side’s chances of victory alive and ensured that Bangladesh succumbed to their narrowest defeat in Test history.
The 25-year-old also took 6 wickets in total for the loss of just 46 runs to guarantee his side at least a draw in the two-match series, with the second and final Test beginning in Dhaka on Friday.
Cook said of Stokes: “The guy is that x-factor cricketer which every side would love to have. And he balances our side and gives us options. The one thing that he has done over the last year is to improve his method against spin.”
Stokes picked up the man of the match award for his efforts on a pitch that was designed to heavily favour spin bowlers.
This was Stokes’ third such award since the beginning of England’s 2015 season. No other player for the touring side has collected more than two in this period.
The England captain also suggested that there would be changes for the second Test, more likely to be amongst the bowlers rather than the batsmen, saying: “If we play the same side a lot on the tour we could have a lot of guys with not much cricket under their belts coming into a crucial Test match a bit further down the line. We were pretty clear when we came out that we would rotate.”
However, Stokes was particularly keen to stress that he wanted to play a full part in England’s tour of Bangladesh and India, adding: “Nah, I’ll play all seven … if I still get picked.”