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England can be ‘even more adventurous’ against Pakistan, says Ben Stokes

England can be ‘even more adventurous’ against Pakistan, says Ben Stokes

  • Tourists won opening Test in thrilling fashion
  • Shorter days possible in second match at Multan

Ben Stokes is prepared to get “even more adventurous” with his tactics as the England captain aims to continue pushing the limits of what is possible in Test cricket.

Speaking as he prepared for the second Test against Pakistan starting in Multan on Friday – a match that could see even shorter days than their 74‑run win in Rawalpindi, because of fog – Stokes showed no interest in his side sitting on their 1-0 series lead. Asked how much more inventive his side could get, having ransacked 921 runs from just 821 balls across their two innings in the first Test, and then set an inviting target on a flat pitch, Stokes said: “We might see, actually, in this Test.

“If it does pan out the way that it could, potentially, with the late start [for fog] and early finish [for bad light], we could end up having only 300-350 overs in the match. We might have to get even more adventurous with what we do.”

The match may also challenge the fitness of both teams, with the pollution levels in Multan rated as “very unhealthy” on the air quality index and physical activity not recommended – somewhat suboptimal for a five-day cricket match.

Among the ideas floated by Stokes to keep the game moving were possible declarations in both innings, while 48 hours out the captain said he was open to retaining Ollie Pope as wicketkeeper despite Ben Foakes returning to fitness after a sickness bug.

With seven wins from eight after a previous one from 17 under predecessor Joe Root, it is clear there is no going back for this England side under Stokes and the head coach, Brendon McCullum, as they maintain their contempt for the draw.

“We’ll stick to our guns and the way we want to play,” Stokes said. “That’s to go out there and try and make every single day of Test cricket entertaining and try to force results – not worrying about too much else.

“We’ve moved on from that first Test. Obviously it was a pretty special win. But I think we’re very good at parking results. It’s always about the next game, especially in a [three-match] series like this one where every game is back-to-back.”

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