Stokes hails 'phenomenal' England after day-five victory over New Zealand

By Sports Desk June 14, 2022

Ben Stokes lauded his team-mates after a magnificent victory over New Zealand saw England take an unassailable lead in their Test series.

England were quick to bowl out the reigning ICC World Test Championship kings in the morning session, leaving them to chase 299 runs over the rest of the day.

But there could have been some concern in the England changing room as they found themselves four wickets down for just 93 runs.

Instead, Stokes joined Jonny Bairstow in the middle and the two enjoyed a 179-run partnership over the course of just 20 overs.

Bairstow scored the second-fastest hundred for England in Tests, raising his bat after just 77 deliveries.

He finally fell as he was caught off the bowling of Trent Boult, but his innings of 136 off 92 balls did the heavy lifting before Stokes and Ben Foakes cruised to the winning total.

Stokes himself scored 75 runs off 70 balls, but he was quick to praise his team-mates, saying: "I can't take too much credit for that. For all five days, the boys were phenomenal with bat, ball and in the field.

"Everyone has contributed to this win."

He added: "It wasn't just myself and Jonny today, look at Leesy [Alex Lees] at the top there. The more he plays, he looks like a Test opener."

The England captain also heaped praise on Foakes, labelling him "the best keeper in the world".

New Zealand scored 837 runs across the match and still came up short, but their stand-in skipper Tom Latham was magnanimous in defeat.

"At tea, it was still in the balance, but the way Jonny and England played there was outstanding and all credit to them," he said.

Latham commended the efforts of his team-mates, adding: "I couldn't ask for more from them.

"It will take a while to sink in. The emotions are raw at the moment and the boys are gutted, so we will take some time away."

Although England clinched the series, attention now turns to the final Test at Headingley on June 23

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