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Tight defence key to succeed in sub-continent - Ben Stokes

Ben Stokes (right) emphasised on the need to be strong in defence while combating spinners in sub-continent.
Ben Stokes (right) emphasised on the need to be strong in defence while combating spinners in sub-continent.
©REUTERS / Action Images

England all-rounder Ben Stokes insisted that a strong defence skill is a must for batsmen to survive in tough spinning conditions of sub-continent.

Stokes, whose fine all-round performance fetched him the man of the match award in the first Test against Bangladesh in Chittagong revealed he has been working hard on his batting especially to adapt to the sub continent conditions where England play six more matches in the next few months.

After failing in the first innings with the bat, the Durham all-rounder scored a match-winning 85 in the second innings and shared a vital 127-run stand with Jonny Bairstow which proved instrumental in England setting a target of 286 for Bangladesh.

"The hardest bit out here is starting," Stokes said to Sky Sports.

"There are guys in front of the bat at silly mid-off and short leg, and leg slip - especially when the ball is coming into you.

"You know your defence has to be pretty tight as well as being able to rotate the strike so you don't feel you're building all that pressure on yourself and you need to score. It's about working with the guy at the other end as well."

Stokes also proved more than handy with the ball picking a four-wicket haul in the first innings and more importantly he picked the final two wickets for England on the final day to secure a 22-run win. He also credited head coach Trevor Bailey for having a big influence on changing his game to adapt to the conditions.

"Our middle-order is packed with aggressive players and good players against spin, but at some point, you need to nurture that and understand what the position of the game is.

"Trevor is big on the word 'positive'. As he says every single time it's not all about hitting fours and sixes - it's about rotating the strike.

"In conditions like this in the second innings, ones and twos were just as valuable as anything in making sure the partnership got up and that we got as high a score as possible."

Having taken an unassailable lead of 1-0 in the series, England and Bangladesh will lock horns for the second Test which starts in Dhaka on 28th October.

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