Ben Stokes plotting Ashes revenge after England swat aside South Africa
England needed just 25 minutes on the final morning to wrap up a 2-1 LV= Insurance series win over South Africa on Monday, claiming their sixth Test win in a home summer for the first time since 2004.
Alongside head coach Brendon McCullum, Stokes has galvanised a side that won just once in 17 Tests prior to their appointments, doing so despite a number of fast bowlers being sidelined with injuries.
Stokes namechecked Jofra Archer and Mark Wood as two players he feels can take them to greater heights, with the hope the pair will be firing on all cylinders by the time the Ashes rolls around next summer.
He said: “Who knows how far we can take this side over the next couple of years? We’ve got two of our premium fast bowlers who have had big injuries this summer and have missed a lot of cricket. You add Jofra and Woody into the mix being fully fit – it’s scary to think where things could go, especially with the ball. And the batters that we’ve got coming through, it’s a very high ceiling.”
While Stokes is already relishing the chance of another crack at Australia, who regained the urn after a 4-0 triumph Down Under last winter, the all-rounder admitted England cannot look too far forward.
The expansive approach they have undertaken under the new management will be stress tested in a two-match trip against Pakistan in December and Stokes insisted he was not taking the tour lightly.
He said: “I am excited by the Ashes next summer, especially with the way we are playing. It’s hard not to look at it, especially with how the last Ashes trip went. But we have got to concentrate on Pakistan.”
England will at least go into their next assignment brimming with confidence after a comprehensive nine-wicket win over South Africa in a truncated third Test, with Zak Crawley’s 69 not out underpinning a successful chase of 130.
Former Yorkshire batsman Alex Lees was the only wicket to fall for the hosts as he was dismissed for 39 in a streaky innings in which he was dropped twice.