James Anderson has heaped praise on “incredible” captain Ben Stokes after England’s sensational Test win over Pakistan in Rawalpindi.
The 74-run victory gave England just their third-ever Test triumph in Pakistan, and has already been labelled as one of the greatest wins in their history.
Anderson took five wickets in the match, including 4-36 in the second innings with the ball reverse swinging.
After the first Test, England’s all-time leading wicket-taker said Stokes, whose bold second-innings declaration paved the way for a famous win, gives his side “so much confidence”.
“He is someone you want to play for, he is incredible. He knows what he wants to do. He thinks about it a lot, the fields that he sets. It’s great for us. We chat a lot about things and it’s exciting to try different things.”
One of the interesting tactics Stokes deployed in the second innings was taking the new ball along with Ollie Robinson and bowling short balls as they went in search of wickets.
England fans have become accustomed to Anderson taking the new ball in any condition, but using the 40-year-old as first change paid off, with Robinson taking the wicket of Abdullah Shafique in the fourth over.
“The one thing that stood out for me was how Ollie and Ben bowled with the new ball. That set things going and gave us confidence coming into today,” Anderson said.
“It’s probably one of the best wins I’ve been involved in, if not the best. To play the way we did, to score the runs at the rate we did, we put ourselves in a position to win the game.
“With Ben and Brendon McCullum, their mantra is we have to take wickets. We felt with the lead and the way we score we could set ourselves with something to defend. We managed to get the ball moving through the air which makes a massive different and we executed our skills brilliantly.
“An overall brilliant performance. There wasn’t much spin but the way they [the spin bowlers] contributed throughout. [Will] Jacks getting six-for was an amazing effort.”
While Anderson finished the second innings with four wickets, it was Robinson’s post-tea spell that was pivotal in pushing England to the finish line.
“I think the pitch wasn’t favourable for our seamers, but we managed to get the ball going, and we toiled out there. Every single man left nothing behind, and it was a great effort,” Robinson said after being awarded the Player of the Match award.
“We had to be patient, we knew if we could get a fresh batter in we’d have a good chance. We knew it would be hard, but we toiled away. The batters gave us the opportunity. Coming to Pakistan and playing on these flat wickets, [it is] probably the best Test I have had.”
The second Test takes place in Multan from Friday (build-up starts at 4.30am on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event ahead of the first ball at 5am) with Pakistan looking to level up the series ahead of the final fixture in Karachi from December 17, which is also live on Sky Sports.