Former England captains Michael Vaughan and Kevin Pietersen were not convinced with current skipper Ben Stokes' decision to declare England’s first innings at 393/8 on day one of the first Test of Ashes 2023 against Australia at Edgbaston.
Joe Root remained unbeaten on 118, while Zak Crawley (61) and Jonny Bairstow (78 in 78 balls) were the other major run-getters for the hosts. Australia ended day on 14/0 in their first innings.
The veterans believe skipper Ben Stokes may have declared with some more runs on the board.
”I wouldn’t have declared. You just don’t know what is going to happen. England are trying to send a message no team has ever done before. I, as a captain, would’ve wanted a few more runs, especially with Joe Root out there. Even though England didn’t get the wicket, it creates what the Ashes is all about — Warner and Khawaja, two experienced pros, were running like kids,” Vaughan said on BCC Test match special.
On the other hand, Pietersen believed a total of a little over 400 would have served them better, especially when it looked well within reach on Day 1 itself.
“I don’t think that’s the nature of his captaincy (in and out fields from Stokes). It’s difficult to answer because we did not see much in it this evening. And I did that Test match last year against India with you guys, it was a wicket that did get better for batting, and I think that tomorrow (Saturday) could be the most beautiful day. That’s why I am… I didn’t like the declaration. We will find out if it’s the right thing to have done. I always got told 400… get to 400, 450 in the first innings of a Test match. It’s psychological. Maybe I am being too critical, I don’t know, we will see,” the former English batter said on Sky Sports.
After Australia escaped unscathed in the last few overs of day one, legend Ricky Ponting opined that Stokes was right to declare and it gave England full chances of winning the match instead of just dragging it.
“We were sort of expecting it, weren’t we? They were up with the scoring rate and had a chance to get the Australians out for 15-20 minutes tonight. I love it, to be honest. That’s all about Ben Stokes and the new attitude of this current England regime under Stokes and McCullum. They are doing everything to take the game forward and give themselves the best chance of winning games. They are trying to capitalise and seize the moment,” Ponting said.