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Babar Azam and Ben Stokes speak out after depleted England crush Pakistan in first ODI


England’s new-look team smashed Pakistan in the first ODI in Cardiff (Pictures: Sky Sports)

Babar Azam and Ben Stokes have spoken out after England’s depleted team beat Pakistan in the first one-day international in Cardiff.

England picked five debutants in their team to face Pakistan on Thursday after an outbreak of coronavirus forced the hosts to name an entirely new squad for the series.

Despite naming an inexperienced team, England bossed the opening ODI, bowling Pakistan out for 141 in 35.2 overs and then chasing the target in 21.5 overs with nine wickets to spare.

The emphatic victory sees England take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, with the second ODI taking place at Lord’s on Saturday.

Reacting to Pakistan’s defeat, captain Babar – who was dismissed for a second-ball duck – said: ‘We lost early wickets and that’s why we didn’t go to a big total but credit to the England bowlers. We are looking forward to Lord’s and we’ll try our level best.’

England stand-in captain Ben Stokes, meanwhile, said: ‘A very clinical performance, any game where you get the opposition four down early on then you’re massively ahead of the game so that always helps – especially when you’re captain for the first time!

‘I thought the bowlers put in a great performance today. When you get any new group together you’re always striving for that first real team performance and getting that first up today is obviously a massive boost.

‘One thing that we have to bear in mind is that we didn’t get put under any pressure today and I’ve got no doubt that we will at some point in this series.

‘Not every game of cricket goes that smoothly for us so we just have to move on to the next game.’

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