Ben Stokes: England Test captain credits former limited overs skipper Eoin Morgan for inspiring improvement
Ben Stokes has overseen victories in all four Tests since being appointed England captain; England completed record run chase to earn 2-2 series draw against India at Edgbaston; Stokes praises impact of England's former limited overs skipper Eoin Morgan on his approach to captaincy
Last Updated: 05/07/22 4:04pm
Ben Stokes says his early success as England Test captain has been aided by the "ethos and mentality" that former limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan brought to his side.
After leading England to a 3-0 series win over New Zealand last month in his first series after replacing Joe Root as Test skipper, Stokes oversaw the completion of a thrilling win over India on Tuesday that saw the series, which began last summer, finish 2-2.
Stokes' appointment, which came along with Brendan McCullum's hiring as Test head coach, was made with England having won just one of their last 17 games.
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Morgan, who stepped down from his position as both ODI and T20 captain last month, was appointed in similar circumstances in 2014, before going on to lead England to 50-over World Cup glory in 2019, having also guided the T20 team to the 2016 World Cup final.
Asked if there are echoes in his approach of England's limited-overs transformation under Morgan, Stokes told Sky Sports: "Definitely. Baz (McCullum) and Eoin are really, really good mates.
"I spent a lot of time under Eoin's captaincy and I've taken a lot of what his messaging and how he wanted the team in one-day cricket to go forward and I've brought his mentality and his ethos around cricket into this Test environment and everybody's responded so well to it.
"It's not just me and Baz, you've got to get that response from everybody else and everybody's just flown into it head on, and it's been a great five weeks."
England's more aggressive approach under Stokes and McCullum has resulted in a remarkable series of victories, which has seen them chase down fourth innings targets of 277, 299, 296 and 378.
Stokes believes that England's new style is striking fear into opponents, and this was evident as India stuttered after securing a 132-run first-innings lead.
"I said yesterday after we finished the day's play, you look at how teams will be viewing us at the moment," Stokes said.
"That third innings now has become a fourth innings because they're going to have to concentrate on how we're going to play, and they're worried about that.
"So to be in a position like that as a team, of being feared before they've even finished their innings, is an unbelievable place to be in. Teams don't know how to play the third innings, especially when they've got a lead."
Root: I've learnt to accept failure
England openers Alex Lees and Zak Crawley made a strong start to the team's record run chase of 378 against India, but the loss of three wickets for just two runs saw Root and Jonny Bairstow come together with the score at 109-3.
After steadily negotiating the early stages of their innings, the Yorkshire duo put the Indian bowlers to the sword, keeping the run-rate at almost five runs an over as they sealed what eventually became a supremely comfortable victory.
Root's performance, which saw him bring up his 28th Test century, continued a remarkable run of form that has seen him reach three figures 11 times since the start of 2021.
"I feel like I'm playing some nice cricket," said Root, who was named player of the series after adding to the three centuries he struck in the first four matches of the contest last summer
"I'm really enjoying my batting. When you're enjoying it, it makes things a lot easier. You turn up to practice and you're excited, and you get out to the middle and you're up for the contest.
"I feel in a really good place and I just need to keep working hard at making sure I maintain that. I think one thing that's worked really well for me is just being at peace with one mode of dismissal every now and then and accepting that it's a game of failure, batting, and you're not going to get it right every time.
"But you get in, you get going, you've got to really make it count and hopefully I can keep pushing that on."
Bairstow: Back to basics approach behind strong form
Bairstow, who was named player of the match after striking centuries in both innings, has established himself as a key player in the Stokes-McCullum setup.
Having struggled to retain his place in the team for much of his Test career, Bairstow has scored four centuries in his last five innings, with the only occasion he missed out on a ton being when he struck an unbeaten 71 as England sealed victory over New Zealand at Headingley.
The 32-year-old began last year's Ashes tour out of the team, but struck a century in the final game of the series after being recalled, and backed that up with a century during March's tour of the West Indies.
Asked to explain his recent form, Bairstow said: "Just taking all the simple things back and stripping it back to the basics.
"The last couple of years have been tough. I'm not a big fan of the bubbles, I'm not someone that likes to sit in a room and play computer games. It's been tough on me but the last few months have been fantastic.
"It's great fun at the moment. The last month has been a fantastic month of Test cricket for all the lads. You can see the smiles on all the boys' faces, how excited we are for each other when everyone's doing well, and that's a massive part of it.
"It's just about having the enjoyment factor of it. Not being afraid of failing, going out and playing that way and putting pressure back on the opposition. We're here to win games of cricket, that's what we want to do. You're going to lose games along the way if you're playing the way in which we are, but hopefully the positive brand that we're playing is exciting for people to watch, because it's certainly exciting to play in."