Ben Stokes’ early declaration vindication by late England wickets

Ben Stokes' early declaration vindication by late England wickets

England were 325 for 9 after only 58.2 overs when Stokes called time on their innings, a move that his team-mates explained owed to the challenge of facing a new pink ball under lights in a day-night Test.

“I haven’t played many pink-ball games, but by the looks of it, it’s the hardest time to bat when it’s under lights, and obviously we had the new ball as well,” Harry Brook told talkSPORT. “I think it was a great declaration. To get three wickets there is vital and hopefully we can force a few more early tomorrow.”

Speaking at the end-of-day press conference, Brook added: “The best time to bowl is under these lights. You can extract the most amount of swing and seam so why not try and expose their top order to that? It’s the hardest time to bat and we’ve got three of the best bowlers to ever play the game. And thankfully we got three wickets.

“It just happened like that, to be honest. There was no plan at dinner to declare. Me and Foakesy [Ben Foakes] were still batting together and if I hadn’t got out, the plan would’ve been the same. But because I got out the plan changed, and Stokesy said if there’re two bowlers in at the same time, give them a couple of overs and we’ll try and utilise the lights.”

Ben Duckett, England’s other half-centurion, told talkSPORT: “We knew the conditions under lights tonight were going to suit us with the ball and that was the reason for the declaration.

“We could have easily had five or six [wickets] tonight. Stick two on that in the morning and suddenly they’re a long way behind the game and we’re in a very good position.”

Wagner – New Zealand ‘expected’ declaration

Neil Wagner, who took 4 for 82 and then saw out the day as nightwatch, said that New Zealand had “sort of expected” England to declare.

“After that dinner break we thought they might come out a little harder, get to the point where they were really trying to up the ante, score as quick as they can and just get us in there,” he said.

“We tried to stem the run rate a little bit and eliminate them getting too far ahead of us. We kept trying to take wickets, which brought it back for us at the back end.”

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