Ben Stokes was full of praise for Harry Brook after his second-innings century in England’s series winning victory in Multan, likening him to Virat Kohli in the simplicity of his technique and all-format talent.
England wrapped up the series in Pakistan with a 26-run win in the second Test match, sealing only their third ever series win in the country and their first since 2000/01. Brook’s 108 from 149 balls on day three helped set up the game, taking them from 79-3 to 271-9, setting Pakistan 355 to win. In another nail-biting finish, Pakistan looked on course for victory on day four at 290-5 before Mark Wood struck twice on the brink of lunch, Pakistan eventually bowled out for 328.
In his post-match interviews with Michael Atherton, Stokes lavished praise on Brook’s role in the match and record since his Test debut: “Obviously the summer he had last year, getting all the big ups before he made his debut at the back end of the summer, to come here and put in that kind of performance again, it’s just phenomenal.
“He’s one of those rare players that you sort of, you look across all formats and you can just see him be successful everywhere. But, massive shout, but Virat Kohli’s one of those guys where his technique is just so simple and works everywhere.”
Since playing his first Test in the final match of the series against South Africa in September, Brook has made two centuries and a fifty so far in the series in Pakistan. His explosive 153 off 119 balls in Rawalpindi was England’s third-fastest Test match hundred overseas, and included him hitting six fours off one over from Saud Shakeel. Before joining up with the Test squad in Pakistan, Brook played in England’s victorious T20 World Cup campaign and their seven-match series in Pakistan, where he averaged 79.33 across six innings.
The middle-order batter only came into the side afte Jonny Bairstow suffered a freak accident on the gold course, breaking his leg. Until then, Bairstow had been enjoying an incredible summer, hitting four centuries in six matches including a brutal 136 off 92 balls against New Zealand at Trent Bridge. While Brook had been included in the Test squad for a large part of the summer, he had not been able to force his way into the starting XI thanks to Bairstow’s form.
“You want competition for places,” said Stokes. “You want a strong squad to be able to pick from and you want those headaches when it comes to the final XI every week, rather than going ‘I’m not sure who we’re going to pick let’s pick a name out of the hat’. We’re definitely not in that situation and I feel like we’ve got all bases covered at the moment so it’s good.
“The pressure that he (Brook) puts back onto the opposition is exactly what we’re about and we’re very very lucky with the way in which we can replace Jonny to have Harry come in, because those two batting at No.5, both go about it in exactly the same way. They bring so much to the team and you’re right, Harry playing in the way in which he’s done at the moment with Jonny not being in the team unfortunately, it’s the best thing.”
Watch Ben Stokes’s post-match interview below:
Ben Stokes 🤝 Harry Brook pic.twitter.com/POSYe3qtX9
— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) December 12, 2022