CHRIS SILVERWOOD is confident his young England side have a bright future after talisman Ben Stokes inspired them to a thrilling series-levelling win in Cape Town.
A 189-run victory over South Africa in the second Test, delivered late on the fifth day by three wickets from the sensational Stokes, squared the four-match series at 1-1 and handed Silverwood his first success in the job.
Having lost two and drawn one of his first three Tests since taking over from Trevor Bayliss, it was a special moment for the ex-paceman, whose only victory in the six Tests he played was also in South Africa in 2000.
Silverwood was delighted with his less experienced players, with 21-year-olds Zak Crawley and Sam Curran, plus Ollie Pope and Dom Bess — just a year older — and 24-year-old centurion Dom Sibley playing their part in England’s first Test-match success in Cape Town since 1957.
‘We’ve had a tough couple of weeks leading up to this and to come out and see a team performance like we have there, especially from some of the youngsters, I’m absolutely thrilled and proud of them,’ said the coach.
‘We had four players 22 or under and we saw all of them perform at some stage during this Test match. I think it shows we have a bright future and if we keep building, let the foundations set and keep believing in what we’re doing, hopefully we’ll continue to see these guys continue to be successful and build a team around them.’
In Stokes — who took wickets, catches and crucially scored rapid runs at Newlands — England’s next generation have a figurehead who is raising the bar in all departments.
‘When it gets tough he’s the one you want in there. He fights and he doesn’t know how to give up,’ added Silverwood.
‘He did it again for us here. He picked the ball up, charged in and made things happen for us. It’s an inspiration for everyone around him. His energy gets everyone going.
‘His attitude, time and time again is superb. He’s a great talisman.’