Dubai: Australia great Ricky Ponting has likened Ben Stokes’ match-winning abilities to Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s on-field demeanour, saying the England skipper is far ahead of his contemporaries in pressure situations just like the Indian legend used to be.
Stokes almost single-handedly carried England to a series-levelling win, scoring 155 off 214 balls in the second Ashes Test at Lord’s. It wasn’t the first time he had terrorised Australia. In the 2019 Ashes, he smashed an unbeaten 135 to help the hosts register a remarkable one-wicket win at Leeds.
“I think any international player is under pressure anytime they walk out to play, but Ben batting in the middle order or later order like he does, probably finds himself in more match-winning opportunity situations than some others might,” Ponting said on the latest episode of The ICC Review.
“The first one that comes to mind is maybe someone like a Dhoni, who’s there at the end in a lot of T20 games, and finishing games, whereas Ben’s doing it at the end of Test matches, and there’s not, probably not many, many players through the history of the game that have found themselves in that sort of role and are there at the end winning games, and especially as a captain.” Ponting said he had Stokes’ match-winning innings at Headingley in his mind during the thrilling final day at Lord’s.
“I thought and everyone probably thought he could do it again because we’ve seen it happen before, but this was probably, slightly more runs that they were chasing (in 2019),” he said.
“In the back of the back of everyone’s minds, I think once it started playing out the way that it was and how many similarities there were to Headingley in 2019…Steve Smith dropped him…and he was dropped on 116 by Marcus Harris at Headingley, So those sort of ghosts of the past kept coming back out.”