#OnThisDay – Ben Stokes played incredible innings to win the Headingley test against Australia

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Exactly one year ago England’s allrounder – Ben Stokes played his career best innings in test cricket to lead England to victory in Headingley test against Australia. After playing a pivotal role in England’s World Cup 2019 Triumph, Ben Stokes again rise to the occasion.

Ashes 2019 is considered as one of the most closely fought battles between England and Australia in recent years. On one hand Ashes 2019 is remembered for Steve Smith’s rise back in International cricket after serving the ban due to sandpapergate scandal. Smith scored 774 runs in just 4 test matches of Ashes 2019.

The first test of Ashes 2019 was win by Australia comfortably by 251 runs with the second test ending in a draw. In the third test at Headingley, Ben Stokes lift England from precarious position to keep Ashes series alive.

After winning the toss, England captain Joe Root invited Australia to bat first. With Steve Smith missing the test after suffering a blow from Jofra Archer in second test, Australian batting looked brittle.

David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne stood out for Australia with gritty half-centuries to take Australia to 179 score. Apart from Labuschagne-Warner only captain Tim Paine reached double digits. Archer picked up 6 wickets and Stuart Broad chipped in with two wickets.

In response to Australia’s 179, England were blown away by Australian fast bowlers. England batting could survive only 27.5 overs and were bowled out for paltry 67 runs conceding a 112 runs which is monumental on that pitch. Josh Hazlewood was the lead tormentor picking up 5 wickets along with Pat Cummins who picked 3 wickets.

With a hefty lead of 112 runs, Australia started positively but lost Warner early on to Broad. With vital contributions from all batsman and Labuschagne’s second half-century of the match Australia scored 246 in the second innings targeting 359 runs for England.

Stokes never give up attitude was the key

Any target beyond 300 runs is always considered as difficult in the last innings of a test match and when you are bowled out for just 67 runs in first innings then it is like Mt. Everest to chase.

Australian fast bowlers removed England openers with just 15 runs onboard. However, captain Joe Root and Joe Denly anchored down the innings and reached their respective half-centuries.

Hazlewood provided the breakthrough for Australia by dismissing Denly which was soon followed by Lyon dismissing Root. Jonny Bairstow and Stokes partnered for 84 runs to take England to 245 runs.

With still 114 more required for victory, Hazlewood dismissed Bairstow to open up the England’s tail as Buttler was run-out soon. Chris Woakes become Hazlewood’s fourth victim and left Stokes on the other end.

Soon enough Pattinson and Lyon reduced England to brink of defeat by taking out Broad and Archer in successive overs. With still 73 runs behind the target, it was Ben Stokes who ignited the fire to attack Australian bowlers.

England’s last man – Jack Leach scored just 1 runs in a partnership of 76 runs. Ben Stokes finished at 135 unbeaten and deflated Australian bowling attack with one of the greatest innings in Ashes history.

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