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[Sports] Pakistan v England: Captain Ben Stokes says first-Test win is 'mind-blowing'


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Captain Ben Stokes says England's last-gasp victory over Pakistan in the first Test is "mind-blowing".

England took the last wicket in fading light on the final day to win by 74 runs in their first Test in Pakistan for 17 years and secure one of their greatest victories of all time.

"The effort that everyone has put in this week is incredible," said Stokes.

"I feel very honoured and privileged to be able to lead these guys out on to the field."

England's victory, ending a run of 11 away Tests without a win, was remarkable not only for the thrilling conclusion, but also the way they engineered the possibility of a result.

On a flat pitch that otherwise could have produced a drab draw, England racked up a record 506-4 on the first day as part of an overall run-rate of 6.73 - the fastest any team batting twice has ever scored in a Test.

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Stokes then made an aggressive declaration at tea on the fourth day, setting Pakistan 343 to win from four sessions.

It gave England just enough time to force the win, sealed as the sun was setting to evoke memories of a famous victory over Pakistan in Karachi in 2000.

"To be able to get a result on this type of wicket is mind-blowing," said Stokes.

"Jimmy Anderson said to me he was feeling quite emotional about this win. To have a guy who has experienced everything say that, it makes you realise what a special achievement this week has been."

England's win came after a build-up when the squad was badly affected by a virus. On Wednesday, the day before the match was due to start, question marks over the number of fit players led to the prospect of the Test being delayed by a day.

Stokes revealed he had to convince spinner Jack Leach, who took the final wicket, to play in the match.

"The way in which the lads just dealt with it and cracked on was a credit to them," said Stokes.

"At the moment it feels like everyone is doing what they need to do for the bloke stood next to them."

Like the rest of the England XI, Anderson was playing his first Test in Pakistan after a 176-match career that has made him the most successful pace bowler in history.

The 40-year-old, who claimed four wickets in Pakistan's second innings, said it was the best England win he had been involved in.

"That wicket was so flat and unresponsive," Anderson told Test Match Special.

"The way we batted allowed us to set something up. It gave us time to set something up the back end.

"Today was a monumental effort. I always believed that we were bowling well enough and I kept the faith until the end."

England have now won seven of their eight Tests since Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum took over at the start of the home summer.

They will have the opportunity to win the three-match series when the second Test in Multan starts on Friday.

Link: https://www.bbc.com/sport/cricket/63856470

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