Ben Stokes’ unforgettable innings of 135* led England to an incredible one wicket victory in the third Ashes Test at Headingley.
From 286/9 Stokes and last man Jack Leach, who made 1 not out from 17 balls, added 76 for the last wicket to carry England to one of the most memorable wins in their 142-year Test history. The series is now tied at 1-1 with two matches to play.
Australia started the day well, bowling four successive maidens before Nathan Lyon had Joe Root caught at slip for 77 by a diving David Warner. Stokes, who at one stage was two not out from 66 balls, was joined by Jonny Bairstow and the two added 86 for the fifth wicket with some counter-attacking strokeplay, as a boisterous Headingley crowd cheered every run to the rafters.
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After lunch Australia hit back as Bairstow was caught in the slips off the bowling of Josh Hazlewood for 36, Jos Buttler was run out by Travis Head for 1 and Chris Woakes (1) drove Hazlewood to Matthew Wade at short extra-cover.
That left England 261/7 but Stokes was still there, and he added 25 for the 8th wicket before Jofra Archer was caught at deep square-leg off Lyon for 15. Stuart Broad was lbw to James Pattinson for a duck two balls later, and Australia had one hand on the Ashes.
Stokes though had not given up and with last man Leach digging in at the other end, Stokes proceeded to expertly farm the strike, hitting fours and sixes all round the ground, running hard for several twos, and giving Leach one or two balls per over to survive.
Kusal Perera & Vishwa Fernando: 78* v South Africa
Ben Stokes & Jack Leach: 76* v Australia
— ICC (@ICC) August 25, 2019
Australia had chances to win it, Marcus Harris spilling a difficult catch off Stokes at third-man, before they wasted their last review on a Leach lbw that pitched well outside leg stump.
Another Stokes straight six left two for victory before a mix up left Leach yards out of his crease at the bowler’s end, only for Lyon to fumble the run out opportunity. One ball later Stokes attempted to sweep and survived a huge lbw appeal, which Hawkeye showed would have hit middle and leg.
Leach dabbed a quick single to leg gully to tie the scores before Stokes crashed a four through the covers off Cummins to seal a truly remarkable win as the crowd erupted.