NZ vs ENG | Very lucky to be able to captain England at the moment, raves Ben Stokes

NZ vs ENG | Very lucky to be able to captain England at the moment, raves Ben Stokes

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Ben Stokes was ecstatic aboout the team's performance in the opening Test against New Zealand


Getty via ESPN

Ben Stokes heaped big praise on his team after a clinical performance earned them a record win against New Zealand on Sunday as he shied away from taking credit for the side's success. Meanwhile, the player of the match Harry Brook thanked the culture in the team for allowing him to perform freely.

England stormed their way to a famous victory in the first of two Tests against New Zealand at the Bay Oval on Sunday, taking just four days to wrap up proceedings. The triumph was not only the visitors' first in 15 years in New Zealand but also their biggest in Tests against the Kiwis, coming by a margin of 267 runs. The batters played their due after being asked to bat first against the pink ball on a tricky part, tallying totals over 300 in both innings. The Black Caps retaliated well in the first innings but suffered a shambolic collapse in their second attempt, succumbing to 28/5 late on Day 3 before eventually folding out for 126 while chasing a mammoth 394.

The win was Stokes' 10th as skipper in the last 11 games since being appointed to the post permanently and 10th in 12 Tests overall having also served as the stand-in skipper against the West Indies in 2020. The feat made Stokes the joint-fastest to the milestone victory mark as a Test captain, tying the record of Australian Lindsay Hassett from the 1950s. However, the 31-year-old focused all the praise on his team, playing down his role in the turnaround despite having taken over at a time when England had won just one of their 17 previous Tests.    

"There are 10 other people who have to go out there and do a job. I'm very lucky to be able to captain this team at the moment," Stokes told BBC Sport.

"When you look at captaincy records, it's only a small part of it. It's not only my captaincy and ideas that are allowing us to play this way, you also have to have the players fully behind you, to follow you out there with what you want to do. I've got off to a great start with my captaincy, but most of that has got to go down to the players," he added.

The man of the match award was presented to batter Harry Brook for scores of 89 and 54, both of which came at a rapid pace. Having made his debut under Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum, the young batter has got off to a dream start in the all-whites, racking up 623 runs in eight innings at an average of 77.87 and an unprecedented strike rate of 96.88, registering three tons and as many half-centuries in the process. 

"The amount of freedom we have going out to bat is phenomenal. I've never felt like that before. I feel like I can go out and do whatever I want. Even if there are six people on the boundary, I'm still allowed to try to clear them," the 23-year-old said in the post-match presentation.

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