The 2019 Ashes in England produced possibly the finest Test innings to ever be played by an Englishman. From the brink of defeat, Ben Stokes played a herculean knock of 135 not out to help England win the third Test in Leeds by just one wicket and level the series 1-1.
In an extract published by the Daily Mail from Stokes’ book ‘On Fire’, the stylish left-hand batsman revealed the relentless crosstalks he had to endure from the Australians, especially from David Warner, which according to him, was intolerable. In a detailed review of the tense situation, Stokes has written that Warner’s banter gave him extra motivation to perform.
"I had extra personal motivation due to some things that were said to me out on the field on the evening of day three when I was trying to get through to stumps… A few of the Aussies were being quite chirpy, but in particular, David Warner seemed to have his heart set on disrupting me."
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David Warner endured a torturous 2019 Ashes campaign, scoring only 95 runs in 10 innings at an average of only 9.50. Warner became Stuart Broad’s bunny as the England pacer claimed Warner’s wicket seven times out of 10. In his book, the all-rounder also wrote:
"Although he'd enjoyed a prolific World Cup campaign, he had struggled with the bat at the start of the Ashes and was perhaps turning to his old ways to try to get the best out of himself. The nice-guy act had done nothing for his runs column."
In an extremely proud way, Stokes wrote that he had a lot of retaliation in mind over the continuous bantering but eventually let his bat do the talking. Stokes took on Warner head-on stating that the nickname ‘Humble’ given by his teammates post his return had all gone down the drain as he was back to his ways of annoying the opposition batsman with adamant chirping to get under their skin. He wrote:
"He just wouldn't shut up for most of my time out there. I could accept it from just about any other opponent. Truly. Not from him, though. The changed man he was adamant he'd become, the one that hardly said boo to a goose and even went as far as claiming he had been re-nicknamed 'Humble' by his Australia teammates, had disappeared. Maybe his lack of form in his new guise had persuaded him that he needed to get the bull back?"
"I muttered 'Bloody Warner' a few times as I was getting changed. The more time passed, the more it spurred me on. All kinds of ideas of what I might say to him at the end of the game went through my head. In the end, I vowed to do nothing other than shake his hand and say 'Well done' if I could manufacture the situation. You always shake the hands of every member of the opposing team at the end of a match. But this one would give me the greatest sense of satisfaction."
Ben Stokes had a phenomenal Ashes series post a dramatic 2019 World Cup final win against New Zealand. A summer, which will be remembered for his exploits in two of the biggest events in cricketing terms, Stokes won the player of the match in the 2019 WC final and followed it up with a player of the series in 2019 Ashes, scoring 441 runs and taking eight wickets.