Ben Stokes heaped praise on Englands openers following their 3-1 series win against South Africa.
Stokes was named man-of-the-series after scoring 318 runs and taking ten wickets across the four Test matches.
But he said he was only able to score freely because of the work done early on by the young opening pair of Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley.
Ben Stokes picked up the man-of-the-series award
Stokes told talkSPORT: I always try and contribute. The best thing about being an all-rounder is you can influence the game in all four innings and thats what I try and do.
You look at the way our opening partnership has played, Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley, theyve really set up the foundation for the middle order to be able to go out there and do that.
“When you are so far ahead of the game in the third innings theres sort of nothing to lose. In periods like that in games, I feel like theres no point in going out for 40 minutes and being on 15.
I try and make the game progress in our favour and make the bowling side have to think differently about what they are trying to do.
Ben Stokes praised England openers Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley
Thats the blueprint weve been on about for some time. When we win the toss and bat first, 400 is the catalyst of what we want to be doing.
“If you get 400 in the first innings of a Test match then it looks like a mountain to climb for the team batting second.
“We managed to do that in the last Test and we controlled the last two Test matches because weve been able to do that. Its great that two young lads are the reason weve had those starts. Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley have been absolutely brilliant in the last two Test matches.
Stokes came into the series with a niggling knee problem but was fine to bowl during all four matches.
Ben Stokes took two wickets in South Africas second innings
He took two key wickets on in South Africas final innings in the fourth Test as they won by 191 runs.
Stokes said: It seems to take me an over or two now to get everything going.
The wicket today, I personally felt, that back of a length was where everything was happening from. Towards yesterday as well, anything that was a bit fuller seemed to be easier to play.
I quite enjoy bowling like that, running in and trying to hit the wicket as hard as I can and it seemed to be responsive to that.
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