On this day in 2019: Magical Ben Stokes leads England to a thrilling victory

Ben Stokes made history on this day in 2019 with one of the greatest Test innings of all time.

The all-rounder hit an incredible 135, not keen on leading England to a thrilling last-wicket win over Australia in the third Ashes Test at Headingley, the home side chasing a record, scoring 362 for nine.

Australia appeared close to retaining the ballot box after reducing the hosts to nine to 286, but a memorable final wicket union between Stokes and Jack Leach – who contributed one in an uninterrupted 76-run partnership – led to one of the greatest running pursuits of all time.

It came barely a month after another memorable inning propelled England to World Cup glory at Lord’s and will go down in history.

Stokes hit eight sixes and eleven fours as he single-handedly dragged his side across the finish line when defeat previously looked like a certainty.

“Obviously I’m over the moon that we managed to stay in the series. We knew if we lost this game, the ashes would be gone,” he said after his innings.

“When a number 11 comes out and needs 70 to win, I knew what I had to do in terms of the game situation. The only time I started to get a little nervous or panicked was when we got into the single digits.

“To sit here, especially after getting thrown out for 67 (first innings), still being there and having a chance to get the ballot box back is an amazing feeling.”

In the end, Stokes’ innings didn’t count for much in the series, as losing at Old Trafford in the following game meant Australia retained the Ashes, with the series eventually ending 2–2 in a draw.

But Stokes won widespread acclaim for his performance, winning BBC Sports Personality of the Year four months later and cementing himself in Ashes folklore.

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/cricket/ben-stokes-australia-england-headingley-england-cricket-b2152232.html On this day in 2019: Magical Ben Stokes leads England to a thrilling victory

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