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Ben Stokes says England's Test win over India is the “greatest victory” since he became captain

Ben Stokes says England's Test win over India is the “greatest victory” since he became captain

Image source, Getty Images

Comment on the photo, England captain Ben Stokes led his team to victory in Hyderabad despite a 190-run first innings deficit

Ben Stokes hailed England's 28-run victory over India as the best since he became captain with pundits and fans alike hailing it as “phenomenal” and “phenomenal”.

Ollie Pope's 196 set India 231 to win but Tom Hartley held off England as he took 7-62 on his Test debut.

“We had a lot of great moments as a team, great wins,” Stokes said.

“But considering where we are and the team we are playing, I think this is our greatest victory since I have been captain.”

Stokes said England were “proud” to have achieved such a memorable win on Indian soil, but warned his players to ensure the result was just one game.

England's second Test of the five-match series begins in Visakhapatnam on February 2.

“Before the series started, we knew how strong India was at home,” Stokes said.

“But the way we responded to falling so far behind was a testament to everything we have said, lived and breathed over the past two years.

“But we have four Tests left. It's about backing up that performance now. We know India will come back to us stronger.”

“They are an incredibly strong team, but if we can keep up against them, that's a good sign for us. We're very proud to be 1-0 up but there's still a long way to go.”

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew: “This is one of the most extraordinary results you can find, especially in India. For India to lead convincingly by 190 runs in the first innings and lose the match by 28 runs is extraordinary. It really is.”

Former England batsman Mark Ramprakash: “It was a very exciting win. Ollie Pope, for me, was the difference between the two teams. Tom Hartley was brilliant but it was Pope's innings that allowed England to pull ahead when all seemed lost.

“He batted with such abandon and confidence, so quickly with those lower-order partnerships. He got England ahead in the game.”

Former Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Deep Dasgupta: “A fantastic Test match. At the end of the day, the bravest team won – the team that was brave enough to take a few more chances than the other team. I think that was the story of the Test match as far as I was concerned.”

Key statistics from England's historic win

  • England became the first visiting team to score more than 400 runs in the third innings against India after being the last team to achieve the feat when they made 406 in Ahmedabad in November 2012.
  • India lost a Test match at home in which they led in the first innings by 100 or more runs for the first time in 106 matches having won (70) or drawn (35) in all their previous 105 home matches.
  • England have now won 15 Tests in India, the most by a visiting team, surpassing Australia and the West Indies' tally of 14 Tests.
  • India's first innings lead of 190 was their second largest as they lost a Test. Only their 192-run lead against Sri Lanka in Galle in August 2015 was greater.
  • Tom Hartley is the 55th English player to take a five-wicket haul on his Test debut and only the sixth player to take a seven-wicket haul on debut. The last English player to take seven wickets on debut was Dominic Cork against the West Indies at Lord's in June 1995.
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Baba's 'extraordinary' innings is 'best in Indian conditions'

Image source, Getty Images

Comment on the photo, Ollie Pope made the fourth highest score in the second innings by any visiting batsman in India

Pope had already batted superbly on day three as his unbeaten 148 helped England hold on in the match.

He began to lay the foundation for a total that would give England a realistic chance of victory, as he was four runs away from what would have been a deserved double century.

It was remarkable given that Bob was playing his first match since dislocating his shoulder in the second Ashes Test Lord's match last summer.

Stokes called it “the greatest innings by an English batsman in the Indian subcontinent” while India captain Rohit Sharma called it “an exceptional innings” and “one of the best I have seen in Indian conditions by an outside batsman”.

For his part, Bob modestly downplayed his importance and added: “I mean it's a great compliment but I don't think it's there yet.

“This is huge but I'm sure someone has played something equally good, maybe even better.

“My record in the second round is not good and that's fairly well documented, so it's good to get that monkey off my back.”

Hartley repays the faith shown by Stokes

Hartley endured a difficult start on his first day's debut as he became the first English bowler to see his first delivery in Test cricket hooked over the boundary for six.

Lancashire players have not found life easy playing for England in recent years, but Ormskirk-born Hartley's contribution on day four was telling as he beat four of India's top five, before returning to deliver the coup de grace.

Hartley repaid Stokes' faith in spades. The 9-193 in the match is the best by England on debut since John Lever in December 1976 (10-70 against India) and the best by a spinner since Bob Perry in 1950 (9-115 against the West Indies).

“After the first innings, I was like, ‘This is hard work!’ It was really tough out there,” Hartley said.

“It didn't turn as much as we thought it would, but it's a testament to Stokesey and the coaches. They really boxed me in, and I didn't lose any confidence – I could come out here and do my best in these innings.”

“One of the best sports teams in the world” – how the fans reacted

legacy: The England Test team has to be one of the best sporting teams in the world at the moment. They have transformed the sport over the past couple of years. Not many teams can say that. They are up there with the Chicago Bulls, Ferrari in Formula 1, Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson, Roger Federer and so on.

Dean in Cardiff: What makes this win so special is that management went with Hartley, and stayed with him even after the first innings suggested he was out of his depth. That kind of persistence, and confidence in a player who was doubting himself, is why England won. This and the best overseas innings ever in India.

not shiny: What a Test match victory! Their backs are against the wall for part of it but absolutely top class from England over the last two days! A massive victory in India is not easy to achieve.

Stevie: This English team can win from anywhere… and other teams know it too. Stokes and McCullum have turned England into mental monsters!

Lee in Camberley: 99.99% of pundits, ex-pros and fans criticized Stokes for the way he handled Hartley's first innings. It shows just how different Stokes and McCullum's dressing room is to the team, and how he allows players to flourish.