Mohammad Abbas, the Pakistan seamer, gave an insight into his approach against Ben Stokes in the first Test of the three-match series, which led to the England all-rounder’s dismissal off what could be termed as the delivery of the series so far.
Stokes, who played the first Test of the series before flying down to New Zealand due to family reasons, was dismissed for nought in the first innings after Abbas’s delivery pitched in line and did just enough off the pitch to beat the outside edge and rattle his off stump.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) August 6, 2020
Ahead of the third Test, Abbas revealed the tactic he employed that handed him the wicket: “Stokes is one of the best all-rounders in the world and he has done well for England,” he told PCB’s official website. “We had a plan for him and I worked on the angles which disturb him. I came around-the-stumps right away when he arrived at the crease.
“He had stepped out of the crease to disturb me, but that did not bother me. Whenever a batsman comes down the wicket against me, I take it as a sign that that batsman is getting disturbed by me. I bowled in good areas and got the desired seam movement, which got us his wicket.”
Stokes’s wicket reduced England to 12-3, but Ollie Pope and Jos Buttler then steadied the ship, taking them to 219. Later in the game, Buttler joined hands with Chris Woakes for a match-winning 139-run partnership in the second innings, helping the hosts chase down 277.
“There is certainly a regret [of losing the first Test],” Abbas said. “We played good cricket for three-and-a-half days and England won it by playing only two hours of good cricket. We have a great record in England … I am excited for the third Test and looking forward to give a performance which will help my team level the series.”