Ben Stokes: Josh Tongue’s first spell, he came on and bow
When discussing Josh Tongue, the newest English debutant who had a stellar start to international cricket with a fifer in the second innings, Ben Stokes seemed to be in good spirits while Stokes and the management emphasized the need for a pace-filled enforcer in the seam attack, Tongue was a surprise addition to the team.
When discussing Josh Tongue, the newest English debutant who had a stellar start to international cricket with a fifer in the second innings, Ben Stokes seemed to be in good spirits. Stokes and the management emphasized the need for a pace-filled enforcer in the seam attack; Tongue was a surprise addition to the team. The 25-year-old’s methods with the ball at different stages in the game have certainly gone down well with Stokes.
“I told him the role that I saw him playing in this team as our third seamer, and used him in a way to get different types of spells out of one bowler,”Stokes added.
“His first spell, he came on and bowled really well pitching the ball up. Then we looked to use his pace to use him as the aggressor when we needed to and the wicket got a bit flat. For him to show he’s more than one type of bowler does us the world of good as a team going forward, knowing we’ve found someone else who can fulfill the role of the guys with the extra pace”
Given the lack of variety in their pace attack otherwise, England has been searching for a fast bowler with extra pace with Jofra Archer ruled out for the immediate future and Mark Wood suffering fitness issues. They required an enforcer to give their bowling attack some cutting edge, especially when the playing conditions don’t provide much for the batters.
Tongue did do the basics well, even though a Test match in England is hardly the ideal sample to evaluate this. The tongue is gifted with workhorse-like abilities in addition to having a good pace because he is fit enough to bowl long spells. It is a quality that’s seldom found with genuine pacers and Stokes was lavish in his praise for the debutant.
“Bowling the long spell yesterday and two long spells today, I wasn’t quite sure of how to manage him so early on,”said Stokes.
“But I was very, very impressed with the way he just said yes to the plans I wanted him to operate under.”
While Tongue’s form in the County Championship this season has been underwhelming, he’s always been a pacer who has made the England management sit up and take notice. One significant achievement that Tongue made throughout the domestic season will make bowlers around the world envious is that he managed to dismiss Steve Smith.
Although he was surely not picked for the XI for that reason alone, this is undoubtedly a boost to his CV with the Ashes just around the way. The tongue has a large frame to work with and the ability to generate extra bounce at a rapid rate of speed; this combination may threaten even the best players. However, the first innings didn’t exactly go to plan for Tongue who was justly rewarded in the second essay.
“He was very unlucky not to get a wicket in the first innings but he reaped the rewards [in the second],”Stokes said.
“The way he bowled contributed to the five wickets he got in that innings because they were already on the back foot against him, knowing he’s got that extra bit of pace. He can bowl 90mph full and short, so he was sort of one step ahead in the second innings already because of how he bowled in the first innings. I kept it simple,”
“I told him to just run in and do what you do – and then I’ll worry about the rest of the stuff. Let the lad go out and bowl in the way that’s got him here in the first place.”