The Ashes: Ben Stokes doubles down on England strategy: 'We sent a message to Australia'

Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon added unbroken 55 for ninth wicket as Australia pipped England in Edgbaston epic, 18 years on from another Ashes classic on this ground; Ben Stokes has "no regrets" over tactics; the second Test is live on Sky Sports at Lord's from June 28

Pat Cummins leads Australia to a famous victory over England in the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston

Ben Stokes said he has "no regrets" over England's aggressive strategy after his side were beaten by two wickets in a nail-biting final day of the opening Ashes Test against Australia at Edgbaston.

Questions were raised after Stokes decided to declare on 398-8 on the opening day. However, England stuck with their entertaining, albeit risky, style of play and took the game down to the wire.

The hosts looked set for victory on day five when Ben Stokes dismissed Usman Khawaja, who followed his first-innings ton with 65 from 197 balls, before Joe Root caught and bowled Alex Carey (20) to leave Australia 227-8.

Ben Stokes says the first Ashes Test will never be forgotten and stands by his decision to declare early

However, Pat Cummins (44no) and Nathan Lyon (16no) completing a gripping chase of 281 with a 55 run partnership to seal a historic win.

Despite losing in such dramatic circumstances, Stokes believes the loss has actually reinforced the idea that England can succeed while playing such an attacking style against Australia.


"I am very proud. To take it to the end of day five like that and have all the emotions," said Stokes.

Captain Pat Cummins praised Nathan Lyon and Usman Khawaja for their performances in Australia's win over England

"It was a rollercoaster, so up and down. It is another one of the games we will never forget being a part of.

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"We just want to be a part of some great moments. Hopefully we have managed to attract the attention.

"A loss is a loss. We stuck to our guns in terms of how we were going to operate. We are going to keep coming at Australia in the way that we did.

"I saw (the declaration) as an opportunity to pounce on Australia. No one likes to go out for 20 minutes at the back end of a day.

Nasser Hussain believes Australia showed why they're the world's best team in the win over England in the first Ashes Test

"Scoring 390 and then being able to declare sends a message to Australia about how we want to take them on.

"If we didn't declare, would we have got that excitement like we did at the end? I'm not 100 per cent sure but I'm not going to be looking back at this game as what ifs. We just didn't manage to get over the line.

"I mean, look, you play cricket over five days. There's so many things that goes on that you could look back at, you know, sort of 20 individual moments, which you could go like, 'oh, if that happened, if that went our way could this game have been different?' But, you know, I don't like to look at things like that.

"We've managed to stand up to Australia and being in control for most of it makes it hurt a little bit more that we've lost but there are four more games left."

The make-up of England's bowling attack will be scrutinised with only eight days separating the end of the first Test and the start of the second at Lord's but Stokes was non-committal about changes.

The best action from day five of the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston as Australia won a gripping encounter by two wickets to take a 1-0 lead in the series

While Moeen Ali suffered a blistered spinning finger on his Test recall, limiting his impact on Tuesday, Stokes, who has had concerns about a longstanding left knee injury, was content with getting through 14 overs over the course of the Test.

"I think seven days is quite a lot of time to give everyone a good rest," he added. "We'll meet up again in three or four days' time and we'll assess how everyone's going.

"But I put my body through more than what it's been through over the last year which is a great sign for myself and a confidence boost for me.

"Getting through that knowing we've still got four games to come has given me a massive boost."

What's next?

The Men's Ashes resumes at Lord's on Wednesday June 28 with the second of five Tests. Build-up begins on Sky Sports Cricket at 10am ahead of the first ball at 11am.

Before then, though, the Women's Ashes gets under way, starting with the five-day Test at Trent Bridge from Thursday. We are live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10am, with the first ball at 11am.

England's Kate Cross looks ahead to the Ashes Test against Australia that gets underway at Trent Bridge on Thursday and says that the fact they rarely play five-day Tests makes it extra special

Women's Ashes schedule (all games live on Sky Sports)

  • Test match (Trent Bridge) - Thursday June 22 - Monday June 26 (11am start)
  • First T20 international (Edgbaston) - Saturday July 1 (6.35pm start)
  • Second T20 international (The Kia Oval) - Wednesday July 5 (6.35pm start)
  • Third T20 international (Lord's) - Saturday July 8 (6.35pm start)
  • First one-day international (Unique Stadium, Bristol) - Wednesday, July 12 (1pm start)
  • Second one-day international (The Ageas Bowl) - Sunday July 16 (11am start)
  • Third one-day international (Taunton) - Tuesday July 18 (1pm start)

How does the scoring system work for the Women's Ashes?

The winners of the Test match earn four points, with the teams taking two points each in the event of a draw. Two points are awarded for victories in each of the white-ball games, with sides picking up a point apiece in the event of a tie or no result.