Aus v Eng 4th ODI: Ben Stokes shows he has 'the Botham knack' as England win in Perth
All-rounder is an outstanding talent - and tourists are finally playing aggressive cricket
Last Updated: 24/01/14 2:46pm
Stokes, 22, struck 70 off 84 balls in England's 316-8 and then took 4-39 as the tourists clinched a 57-run victory in the fourth one-day international, in Perth.
The victory spared Alastair Cook's side from the ignominy of a 10th straight defeat and Lloyd was quick to echo the captain's praise for Stokes.
"He's an exciting talent," said Lloyd. "He's just 22 years of age but he's aggressive and competitive. Let's emphasise that this is against Australia and these are rough, tough guys and he's mixed it with them.
"He's bowled with good pace. I like everything that I see about him. He's got that Botham knack - he gets runs and he gets wickets. He's influencing the game. I think he's an outstanding talent.
He added: "I think England played very well today - certainly with the bat. The penny has dropped that you've got to score 300 in one-day international cricket.
"There's room for improvement in the bowling against what was Australia's second-string batting line-up but it was Australia's top bowling line-up, so it's a job well done."
England cashed in on their opening powerplay overs after being put in to bat, with Cook (44 off 43 balls) and Ian Bell (55 off 52) scoring 73 off the first 10 overs before improving their first-wicket stand to 87. Jos Buttler then contributed 71 from 43 balls at the back-end of the innings in a far more robust batting display.
Cook averaged just 24.60 as England lost the Ashes 5-0 but Lloyd believes the skipper's form is back on the up after knocks of 22, 35 and 44 in his last three innings.
"He's been in chronic loss of form and it looks to me like he's coming out of it," he reflected. "There have been glimpses in his last two or three innings that he's getting fluency and timing into his batting.
"What I've seen from England as a whole, particularly at the Gabba and in this game here, is that they are looking more of a competitive unit.
"They are not like they used to be - not scoring in static periods. You've got to get 300 in 50-over one-day international cricket. You've got to play the correct brand of cricket to win and that brand is 'aggressive'."
Eoin Morgan continued his fine run of form by striking 33 off as many balls and although Gary Ballance, batting one place higher in the order at four, struggled to 18 off 42 balls, Lloyd says he understands why the Yorkshire batsman is coming in so high up.
"England want to win cricket matches but they are also preparing for the World Cup so they are trying to give Ballance as much experience as they can.
"We would all say that Morgan should be at number four - and there is a sub-plot to this because Morgan has said 'I've earned the right to bat at five'.
"England are giving Ballance a chance to be himself into this team and then they've got the firepower of Morgan and Jos Buttler to come, so I like the way they are looking.
"Buttler makes early decisions. The old-fashioned way is to say 'he's got a good eye'; he's certainly got that, he's a really good player. He's not going to do it every game but we're seeing some wonderful pitches and so you can express yourself.
"I think you can get a lot more from Ravi Bopara - he's not scored today - but his all-round ability offers England options."
Watch the fifth and final ODI between Australia and England live on Sky Sports 2 from 3am this Sunday.