Ashes 2019: Ben Stokes stunner levels series after third Test
It was surreal, it was unbelievable. Benjamin Andrew Stokes will go down in Ashes history as an absolute genius. His knock against Australia at Headingley, Leeds to keep England's chances in the series alive will be remembered for a long time.
England were trailing 0-1 in the series and looked well beyond their depth when they were bundled out for a miserable 67 in the first innings. To come out of such a treacherous situation and lift his country's hopes to win the game is sheer magic. Ben Stokes is that magician who managed to do that.
Australia were fierce and were looking to seal the series with a convincing win, when Ben Stokes and Jack Leach came together with England needing 71 runs to win. Not many would have given England even the smallest of chances to survive for few overs, let alone go on to achieve what they did on August 25, 2019.
The crowd at Leeds was fantastic. Every run, every small milestone was celebrated. Ben Stokes summed up the crowd response well,
"It was absolutely deafening. Everywhere around the world, not just Leeds, the support we get from the Barmy Army and everybody, who turn out to watch us play, no matter what the situation of the game, they've always got us, they're always singing, the Western Terrace were absolutely fantastic, they were cheering every dot ball, every boundary."
Stokes and Leach forged together a fifty run stand in 6.1 overs after the second new ball was taken. Australia let the game slip away from their grasp and England were quick to pounce on the opportunity to take control.
In the process, Ben Stokes reached a century after he hit Josh Hazlewood for consecutive sixes. The celebration from the fans stopped play for a few minutes.
Jack Leach blocked out seventeen balls for one run, probably the most significant run he has scored in his career thus far, considering the importance of his partnership with Stokes in the context of the match and series.
Ben Stokes summed up what this knock meant for him and England stating,
"We knew if we lost this game then the Ashes were gone. To be sat here, especially after getting bowled out for 67, to still be in with a chance of getting the urn back is an amazing feeling. Walking off there at the end was a time to take everything in and realize what we've just done as a team, not as an individual. Bouncing back from getting bowled out for 67 to then chase down 359 was brilliant."
This all-round brilliance comes on the back of Ben Stokes delivering fifteen consecutive overs with the ball at a constant speed of 87 mph or more. One wonders if there is anything this cricketer can't do? First his brilliance to win England the World Cup title followed by a match, series and image saving hundred to pull of among the best chases in Test history.
Also read – Ashes AUS vs ENG head to head