It’s four days since the miracle unfolded but yet there is no end to the discussion about it. England defied all odds to register a one-wicket victory in the third Ashes Test against Australia to equal the series 1-1 with two more games to go. And it was all-rounder Ben Stokes who single-handedly took the Three Lions to win after they were 286 for 9 while chasing 359. He added 76 runs for the final wicket with Jack Leach to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
England were comfortably placed at 156 for 3 and then 245 for 4 but then faced a slump as they lost five wickets for just 41 runs. It was then Ben Stokes who kept on reviving the sinking ship and hit 135 not out, his second ton in the series and gifted the countrymen yet another moment to cherish after their maiden World Cup triumph last month. Australia had their chances to win the match, even when England required just two, but the day belonged to Stokes.
Among Ben Stokes’ admirer was Steve Smith. The former Australia captain, who hit two consecutive hundreds in the first Test and followed them up with a 92 at Lord’s, missed the third Test because of concussion he suffered after getting hit on the head by a Jofra Archer bouncer at Lord’s. He warmed the bench in Headingley and saw Stokes’ heroics with pleasant disbelief.
“I’m not a great watcher of cricket, never really have been so I didn’t quite enjoy that, but what an advertisement for Test cricket. It was a pretty amazing inning from Stokesy. He completely turned the series on its head. We had an opportunity to wrap it up but he was incredible.
“Even when you go back to two nights before that night where he bowled 14 overs straight. Someone said on average he bowled the quickest for the day across those 14 overs so that’s a pretty amazing effort,” Smith, who is playing his first Test series after serving a year-long ban, was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
He’s a tough competitor
“He’s a tough competitor, he wants to be in the pressure moments. He thrives under pressure as we’ve seen the last couple of months and he turned the game there at the end. I think you could see the passion and fight he showed. He never gave up,” Steve Smith further added.
Smith was particularly impressed by the fact that Stokes didn’t go for a celebration after scoring his hundred. He said he loved the fact that the England batsman was all focused on winning it for his team. “When you’re in those pressure moments you’ve got to want to be the one to deliver and do what you can for your team,” Smith said. The fourth Ashes Test begins at Old Trafford on September 4.
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