Definitely my most mature performance - Stokes


Ben Stokes expressed satisfaction at having displayed increased maturity in the innings that put England firmly on top in the first Test against Bangladesh.

After playing a key role with the ball on the second evening and third morning in Chittagong, returning 4-26 as Bangladesh slumped from 221-4 to 248 all out, Stokes delivered a similarly impressive display with the bat after his side had wobbled in their second innings.

England were only 107 ahead on 62-5 when Stokes was joined at the crease by Jonny Bairstow, with the hosts' spinners once again posing a significant threat.

However, the tourists closed on 228-8, holding a healthy lead of 273, Stokes having grown in stature throughout an impressive innings of 85.

"That was definitely my most mature performance with the bat," the all-rounder, who faced 151 deliveries, was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

"They were probably the toughest conditions I've had so far in international cricket - especially going in with all the men around the bat and the ball spinning as much as it was.

"My defensive game against spin has gone up another level. That's from working hard. I'm making sure I don't fall into the trap of batting for 20 minutes and then losing concentration on what I'm actually trying to do.

"We can all hit boundaries, but the hardest thing to do is defend when you first come in. I didn't want to give my wicket away and made sure if I was going to get out it was going to take a good ball.

"I knew that if we kept rotating the strike the game was going to get easier. There was so much time left in the game that it was just a matter of occupying the crease, rotating the strike and putting the bad balls away. The guys around the bat would soon disappear.

"The longer you spend on wickets like that, the easier it becomes. If we can get through the tough periods - and there are going to be plenty here and in India - then the easier it's going to get."

Stokes shared 127 for the sixth wicket with Bairstow, who set a new record for the most Test runs by a wicketkeeper in a calendar year during his innings of 47.