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Happy with the way we bowled - Ben Stokes

Happy with the way we bowled - Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes (right), said that as a bowling unit, England are happy with their performance on day one of the fifth Ashes Test at The Oval, despite managing only three wickets.
©REUTERS / Action Images

England all-rounder Ben Stokes confirmed that as a bowling unit, England are happy with their performance on day one of the fifth Ashes Test at The Oval, despite taking only three wickets.

After winning the toss on a green surface with gloomy overhead conditions, England failed to get a wicket in the first session.

The Australian openers, David Warner and Chris Rogers, batted patiently as they took their team to 82 for no loss by lunch.

Stokes stated that the pitch had not assisted the bowlers as well as they thought it would, but felt that the first hour was excellent for England.

Crediting Australia for batting well, Stokes reckoned that the scoreboard does not justify the efforts of the England bowlers.

“The pitch hasn’t played as we thought it was," said Stokes to Sky Sports.

“It was a little bit slower and it did not have the kiss off the wicket as we thought it might have.

"The first hour we had with the new ball, we were fantastic.

“We didn't give them many scoring opportunities.

“Obviously, we've only had them three down but on another day we probably could have bowled a bit worse and maybe got them five (or) six down.

“Australia played a lot better than they did at Trent Bridge, they left a lot better.

“But as a bowling group we're very happy with how we bowled.” 

Early in the day's play, England got plenty of edges that did not carry, as they had to wait till the 34th over to get the first breakthrough.

However, Warner and Rogers battled through the first session, going on to put 110 runs for the opening wicket - their third century stand of this series.

Admitting that it was a deliberate effort to pitch the ball fuller, Stokes observed that it was not fruitful to bowl the shorter length on this track.  

“We were always trying to make them play on the front foot.

“Especially on slow and low decks, you have to I reckon.

“It is quite hard to get anything out of the pitch from the shorter length.

“Me and Woody (Wood), have been a bit skiddier than Finny (Finn) and Broady (Broad).

“We made a conscious approach to try and get the ball up there.” 

England came into this Test with the urn reclaimed, but they made it pretty evident that it was their objective to win the series 4-1.

Stokes disclosed that England have set themselves a target to achieve something that no other squad has done before – winning four games of an Ashes series at home.

“We came into the game already getting the Ashes back.

“But we set ourselves a new challenge to win 4-1 because no other team has done that.

“We are not taking off the gas at all.” 

With the new ball just two deliveries away, England have to make the start of day two count as Australia have a chance to carry on and score big.

Stokes feels that if England can bowl as well as they did in the first hour of the first day, they will be able to take at least three wickets with the second new ball.

“We do (have to make the new ball count). As I said before, we bowled fantastically well with the new ball (on day one).

“If we bowl anything like we did this morning, we hope we can take three or four (wickets) with the new ball.” 

England will head into day two with Adam Voges and Steven Smith currently sharing an unbeaten 101-run stand for the fourth wicket. 

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