Cook grateful for Stokes 'X-factor'


Alastair Cook saluted the X-factor that Ben Stokes brings to the England team after the all-rounder took two wickets in three balls to win an enthralling Test against Bangladesh by 22 runs.

The combative Stokes (2-20) trapped Taijul Islam and Shafiul Islam leg before in the same over to end the Tigers' hopes of pulling off the biggest Test win in their history on day five in Chittagong.

Stokes also took 4-26 in the first innings before scoring a magnificent 85 to put England on top in a compelling opening game of the two-match series.

Cook hailed Stokes after his man-of-the-match display enabled the captain to celebrate victory in his 134th Test, which made him the most-capped England player in the longest format. 

"The guy is that X-factor cricketer that every side would love to have," said the opening batsman. "He balances our side and gives us options. He allows us to play the extra seamer here or the extra spinner.

"The one thing he has done over the last year is improve his method against spin. In the one-dayers it surprised me how well he scored that hundred and it gave me a lot of confidence.

"It showed what a load of hard work can do and he takes a lot of credit from that."

Bangladesh needed only 33 runs to claim a stunning win on the final day, but Cook said he backed his side to finish off the job at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.

He added: "I was fairly confident this morning, if I am brutally honest. I thought we would create the two chances; the doubt was whether we were good enough to take those half-chances. I was fairly relaxed.

"The crucial moment was the beginning of day three, where they were 70 or 80 behind with five wickets down and we managed to get a lead. That proved the difference.

"I was pleased with our performance. Was it the best performance? No. But it is a start. It is better winning these games and moving on and we showed a lot of character."

Cook stated that the tourists plan to make changes for the second and final Test of the series in Dhaka, which starts on Friday.