Ben Stokes refuses to blame England defeat on DRS getting key dismissal ‘wrong’
Ben Stokes felt England were let down by technology at a crucial moment as they slipped to a series-levelling defeat against India but refused to blame the result on “if, buts and maybes”.
The tourists were bowled out for 292 on day four of the second Test in Visakhapatnam, going down by 106 runs as they fell well short of a history-making chase.
Opener Zak Crawley looked the man most likely to do something special and his dismissal for 73 just before lunch turned the game decisively in India’s favour.
Kuldeep Yadav’s lbw shout was initially turned down by experienced umpire Marais Erasmus, who judged the ball to missing leg stump, but DRS surprisingly ruled in the bowler’s favour when ball-tracking suggested it was going on to hit.
England lost Jonny Bairstow in the next over and never quite recovered, with Stokes making it clear he felt Crawley was the victim of a HawkEye glitch.
“My personal opinion is that the technology has gone wrong on this occasion. That’s where I stand on it,” the England captain said when questioned about the decision.
“Technology in the game is obviously there and everyone has an understanding of the reasons it can never be 100 per cent. That’s why we have the ‘umpire’s call’, that’s why it’s in place.
“So when it’s not 100 per cent, I don’t think it’s unfair for someone to say ‘I think the technology has got it wrong’. I will say that, but in a game full of ifs, buts and maybes I am not going to say that’s the reason why we haven’t got the result we wanted.
“You can’t really do much with things that have been and gone. You can’t really overturn a decision that has been made.”
England’s score was the second highest fourth-innings total any overseas team have scored in Indian conditions, but the scale of their target was simply too great to overcome without a big century to build around.
Ollie Pope, Ben Foakes and Tom Hartley were all battling against illness that emerged in the camp overnight, along with the injured Jack Leach at the team hotel, leaving Stokes proud of the fight his side put up.
“There’s a bit of a virus going round, a couple of guys woke up not feeling great,” he said.
“It’s not ideal, you want everyone to be feeling great but I’m proud that the guys who were feeling under the weather didn’t shy away and gave it their best.
“We had full belief in ourselves that we could chase that down. Taking on challenges like that is what we are about. In moments like this, when you have scoreboard pressure, that is when we get the best out of ourselves as individuals. Unfortunately, this time we didn’t get on the right side of the result.”
A quick scan of their second-innings boundary count – 42 fours and four sixes – tells the story of how England went about their business in a match that ended with four full sessions unused.
It was the kind of aggressive display which has become par for the course under Stokes’ leadership and even dismissals like Joe Root’s for 16, an agricultural heave from the side’s most elegant player, do not give Stokes pause for thought.
“I think our approach is what we’re known for, the way in which we play,” he said.
“Regardless of the situation, we want to stay very true to ourselves. I was happy with the way we went about that chase. That’s exactly how we play cricket. It won’t always work but a loss is a loss; you don’t get any points losing by five and you don’t get less for losing by 100.”
England will travel onwards to Abu Dhabi for a break on Wednesday, before returning to India for the third Test in Rajkot on February 15.
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