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    England vow to stick with ‘Bazball’ in bid to level South Africa series

    LONDON (AFP) – England captain Ben Stokes has insisted there will be no let-up in the team’s attacking approach as they look to bounce back in the second Test against South Africa starting today.

    The hosts have arrived at Manchester’s Old Trafford 1-0 down in a three-match series following a chastening innings and 12-run defeat inside three days by the Proteas at Lord’s last week.

    That was their first defeat under the new leadership duo of Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum following a run of four successive wins with an aggressive approach dubbed ‘Bazball’, characterised by attacking batting that saw England chase down stiff fourth innings targets against New Zealand and India during the past two months.

    England, however, had no answer to a formidable South Africa pace attack led by Kagiso Rabada at Lord’s, where they were dismissed for just 165 and 149 in their two innings, although a lack of domestic red-ball cricket since last month’s win over India, was arguably more responsible than ‘Bazball’ for a clatter of wickets.

    And a rare double failure by Joe Root meant England have not won a Test when the star batsman has not made a fifty for more than two years.

    All-rounder Stokes, who took over as captain after close friend Root had presided over just one win in 17 Tests, was in no mood to change tack after just one loss.

    “Absolutely not,” he said. “We know well that when we perform to the capabilities that we’re capable of, then we can go out and put on an incredible performance, like everybody’s seen in the four games before.”

    England’s captain Ben Stokes. PHOTO: AP
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