Lees confident of England’s chances after ‘fun’ flare-up with Kohli


lex Lees says there is confidence in the England dressing room that they can score the remaining 119 runs required to beat India on the final day at Edgbaston, and played down an altercation with Virat Kohli.

England reached stumps on 259 for three chasing 378, after Lees – who 56 from 65 balls – set the tone.

Lees said there was “ultimate belief in one another from No1 to No11 that we can do it” when they were set the big target to win.

Asked about the state of play at stumps, he said: “In Test cricket, there’s always a chance, but if we bat well for the first 30 or 40 minutes, I can’t see there being any other result [than an England win].

“There’s a big onus on the first 30 to 40 minutes. It’s a 57-over ball now, and if we bat well we should be in a strong position to get over the line.”

Lees felt the game turned with Ben Stokes’ three wickets on the fourth day that helped limit the target.

“We’re just very optimistic around it,” he said.

“It’s a good batting wicket. The thing that brought us back into the game was our bowling. Stokes’s spell turned the game on its head. That was the defining moment for me. We could easily have been chasing 450 or 500.”

Lees was not out at tea, when he and Kohli appeared to be arguing as they left the field.

“He’s obviously a very competitive person, and I’m quite headstrong also,” he said. “That’s what my wife says.

Alex Lees is run out

/ Getty Images

“It was just general cricket competitiveness. I wasn’t going to back down. That’s the edge that Test cricket has and needs. Within the game and spectators watching, we need characters and emotion. Nothing that exciting, to be truthful, but it was fun.”

Shortly after the break, Lees was run out, for the second time in two second innings. Again, he was not entirely to blame, with Joe Root calling him through for a quick single when the ball squirted behind him.

“He could lend me one of his Test hundreds!” said Lees. “He’s got plenty of them. I saw him briefly. He was gutted.

“On a personal level, being run out in two innings is hard to take. The pleasing thing for me is we’re in an amazing position in the team. I’ve run out people and it’s a horrible thing to do. But he’s a top guy and hopefully he’ll get the job done tomorrow.”

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