Ben Stokes eager to move on quickly from South Africa hammering as England lose first Test inside


‘It was an off-game for us’: Ben Stokes is eager to move on quickly from South Africa hammering as England lose first Test inside three days but insists no ‘toys will be thrown out of the pram’

  • Ben Stokes has asked his England side to move on quickly from today’s defeat
  • England lost the first Test to South Africa by an innings and 12 runs at Lord’s
  • South Africa were in fine form and blew England away well inside three days
  • Stokes branded the defeat ‘an off-game’ and tasked his side to win the series 2-1
  • Former England captain Andrew Strauss was critical of England’s approach 

Ben Stokes insisted there would be no ‘toys thrown out of the pram’ after England slipped to their first Test defeat of the new era, losing to South Africa by an innings and 12 at Lord’s.

After leading his side to four memorable wins over New Zealand and India, the England captain admitted his side had been outplayed in a game that was done and dusted in the equivalent of under two days.

But he said his players had to move on quickly to avoid taking any baggage to next week’s second Test at Old Trafford. And he urged them to reflect on whether they had been true to the style of play that had produced a quartet of stirring run-chases earlier in the summer.

England captain Ben Stokes saw England suffer defeat for the first time under his leadership

Anrich Nortje (right) took three wickets in the second innings to help South Africa to victory

Anrich Nortje (right) took three wickets in the second innings to help South Africa to victory

‘Whatever we threw at South Africa, they seemed to counteract that,’ said Stokes. ‘You’ve got to give them a lot of credit. It was an off-game for us, and that’s absolutely fine. It’s not something I’m going to be throwing our toys out of the pram over.

‘The message for me and Baz [Brendon McCullum] upstairs will be, did we commit to everything the way we committed to the first four Tests of the summer?

‘If everyone can say, yes, 100%, we just didn’t execute our skills, then things are good. We’ll move on to the next Test match, and go out there and try and win. We’ve got two games left in the series, and our goal is to win 2-1.’

All-rounder Stokes has backed his side to bounce back quickly and win the series 2-1

All-rounder Stokes has backed his side to bounce back quickly and win the series 2-1

Former England captain Andrew Strauss was critical of England's approach after the defeat

Former England captain Andrew Strauss was critical of England’s approach after the defeat

But England’s second-innings collapse for 149 in just 37.4 overs, following their first-innings surrender of 165 in 45, did not go down well with former captain Andrew Strauss, who earlier in the day had insisted there was no reason why a team as well-resourced as England should not be ranked No 1 in the world.

‘I think we’re all pretty startled to see England fold as quickly as they did,’ he told Sky Sports. ‘There was some excellent bowling but it just looked like it all happened like a deck of cards. There certainly wasn’t any digging in and trying to find a way of gradually wrestling the momentum.

‘For all England’s brilliance so far this summer, it’s high-risk cricket. Sometimes, when you play high-risk cricket, the odds conspire against you, and it can look quite ugly when it doesn’t work out.

‘You can give England the benefit of the doubt in the first innings. Today, I’m just scratching my head. It was just too easy for me.’

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