Stokes has no regrets over batting first or Broad omission after England loss

By Sports Desk July 12, 2020

Ben Stokes had no regrets over choosing to bat first or England's decision to leave out Stuart Broad after West Indies won the first Test by four wickets.

England were all out for only 204 after Stokes, leading his country for the first time in the absence of Joe Root, won the toss and asked the tourists to bowl under grey skies on Wednesday.

They made a better fist of it in the second innings, setting the tourists 200 to win when they were dismissed for 313 behind closed doors on the final day at the Rose Bowl.

West Indies were in deep trouble on 27-3, with John Campbell also back in the pavilion retired hurt after being struck on the toe in a hostile spell from Jofra Archer.

Jermaine Blackwood came to the rescue with a classy and composed 95, putting on 73 for the fourth wicket with Roston Chase (37) to set up a brilliant victory for Jason Holder's side.

Stokes said there was no point in rueing his call at the toss or wishing Broad would have been selected, and he was pleased to see the paceman state he was angry to be overlooked in a television interview.

All-rounder Stokes said: "It was a very hard-fought Test match. It's always great when games can go to day five. The level of cricket played was fantastic.

"Ideally we would have liked to have got more runs in the first innings.

"We got ourselves into great positions at times with the bat to kick on and get 350 or 400, and we weren't ruthless enough. We didn't manage to grasp the game as we would have liked.

"I stand by the decision we made to bat first. We've got to be good enough to put first-innings runs on the board."

Asked about Broad's omission, Stokes told Test Match Special: "If I was to regret that decision then it doesn't send a good message to guys who played.

"I thought Stuart's interview was absolutely brilliant, to see the emotion and desire he still has burning inside him is great to see as a senior player. And it shows he's nowhere near done."

Root is set to return as skipper when the second Test gets under way at the bio-secure bubble of Old Trafford on Thursday.

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