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Definitely our greatest triumph since I've been captain, gushes Stokes

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Hyderabad, Jan 28 (PTI) Ben Stokes rated the 28-run victory over India in the first Test here on Sunday as the finest moment yet in his time as the England captain.

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Fuelled by Ollie Pope's epic 196 and debutant left-arm spinner Tom Hartley's seven-wicket haul, England roared back into the match even after conceding a massive 190-run first innings lead.

"Since I've taken the captaincy on, we've had a lot of fantastic moments as a team. We've had a lot of great victories.

"We've been involved in some amazing games. But I think where we are and who we're playing against, this victory is definitely our greatest triumph since I've been captain," said Stokes in the post-match press meet.

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Stokes kept faith in Hartley despite a below-par outing in the first innings.

The Durham man explained the rationale.

"I was willing to give him the longer spell regardless of what had happened (in the first innings) because I knew I was going to have to turn back to him at some point throughout this Test match.

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"Whether or not that was the reason to say he got seven wickets and won us the game this innings, who knows? But that was the thought process behind it and giving the people we select complete backing and not going back on the words that we speak," added Stokes.

"I'm a great observer of the game. I learned a lot from our first innings in the field. I watched a lot of how the Indian spinners operate in the field and the fields that Rohit (Sharma) set.

"So, I tried to take a lot of that into our innings here when we obviously had to bowl them out. I'm thrilled for everyone involved," said Stokes.

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The premier all-rounder also offered a word of praise for Pope.

"I think the situation we found ourselves in, coming in at No. 3, some of the shots that we've seen, just that whole innings, 190 on such a difficult wicket.

"He was able to manipulate the field with his sweep shots and the way he was able to rotate the strike… I think that's the greatest innings that's ever been played in the subcontinent by an English batsman," he added. PTI UNG AH AH

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