Quote of the week: ‘Given where we are, and who we are playing, I think it’s our greatest triumph since I have been captain.’ Skipper Ben Stokes tells TNT Sports what he thinks about England’s epic victory in India.
Sport tells then greatest stories.
Scripts that would be too far-fetched for Hollywood, cameos that would win Oscars and some performances that would make Rotten Tomatoes users wince. Heroes, villains, shocks, controversy and those moments that leave you speechless. Sure, there are a few duds along the way, but actors are not needed when it comes to producing sporting entertainment.
The ‘Heist of Hyderabad’ as it has been coined would break box office records around the globe if live cricket drew the same sort of audiences to the cinema as Barbenheimer.
You could not write what happened when England pulled off arguably their finest ever Test triumph in India.
This is a touring side that contained a spinner unable to use one of his legs, another who won’t even be the star turn for his county next season, one who isn’t even 20 and the fourth member of the slow bowlers who couldn’t even get a visa to enter the country.
That inexperienced attack wasn’t helped by a first-innings deficit of 190 runs that left the writing on the wall.
In giant black ink were the words; India have never previously lost a home Test when taking a lead in excess of 100.
Next to it, underlined and in bold, was the realisation that England have only twice overturned such a deficit in their whole red-ball history. Oh, and the hosts, had only lost three of their previous 46 outings in that format on home soil.
Ollie Pope set about writing another great chapter in English batting history as he took to the crease in reply and produced a truly stunning 196. The obvious ending hadn’t been written after all.
What followed was a plot twist that none of the audience had seen coming. Captain Ben Stokes’ run out of Ravindra Jadeja was almost superhero like while Tom Hartley was donning a cape of his own elsewhere.
On debut, he ripped the heart out of the Indians’ battling attack to take 7-62 as the tourists somehow, in the extra half-hour at the end of the fourth day, wrapped up a heart-stopping 28-run victory. There was still a day’s play left.
The plaudits were richly deserved and it’s not the first time Stokes and Brendon McCullum’s charges have amazed on the biggest stage. Belief is their motto, even if what is happening is unbelievable.
It’ll be fascinating to see what happens today when the second Test begins; who will be the lead characters this time round?