England pulled off a stunning chase in Trent Bridge on the fifth and final day of the 2nd Test against world champion New Zealand. Chasing 299 in 72 overs, the hosts completed the job in 50 overs to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
The chief architect of their incredible win was Jonny Bairstow who made a blistering 92-ball 136 that included 14 fours and seven sixes. It was England’s second win in a row under new captain Ben Stokes who also made a big contribution with 70-ball 75 not out.
Stokes thus played a vital role in another historic England win after having played a starring role in the ICC World Cup final and the Headingley Test against Australia in August – both in 2019.
Stokes though declared that England’s latest win in Trent Bridge is his greatest as he found himself at lost for words to explain what happened on Tuesday.
“I’m struggling to find words for what we witnessed out there today, it was just phenomenal,” Stokes said after the match. “That blows away Headingley, it blows away Lord’s and the World Cup final. Just emotionally and the enjoyment of every minute I had on that field, it was incredible. In the field, it sounds stupid after 150 overs in the dirt but how everybody was just trying to come up with different plans how we were going to change the course of this game to put it back in our hands was just so enjoyable. It was it was just amazing. The whole vibe this week has been awesome. And then to come out and perform the way that we did today.”
“I just can’t quite wrap my head around how we’ve chased 299 with 20 overs left on day five of the Test match when we had to bowl 15 overs this morning. That’s never going to happen again. But if it does, it is probably us who are going to do it,” he added.
Stokes praised Bairstow for his ‘phenomenal’ knock.
“Something we say in the dressing-room – he (Bairstow) had his ‘Jonny eyes’ on today and when he gets those eyes on you know you’re on to something,” Stokes said. “We were hardly speaking out there to be honest. That was one of the best things I’ve ever seen, to do it in the fourth innings, chasing a big total, game in the balance, to play the way he did once he got past fifty was just mind-blowing. Phenomenal to watch,” he said.
ECB had made entry of spectators free for the final day’s play and Stokes didn’t forget the crowd for their support. “It’ll be hard for people not to enjoy what they’ve witnessed today, and everything over the last five days. A lot of credit has to go to Notts for what they did today, allowing free tickets and for people who had already bought tickets getting their money back. Having a full house here at Trent Bridge really does help the atmosphere,” he said.
“You can really feel the home crowd and it’ll make the opposition feel the whole world’s on top of them. If we had a half-full stadium today, it wouldn’t have felt how it did out there. It’ll be nice if some other counties take a leaf out of what they did here today, it was really cool to be a player with a full crowd,” he added.