Eng win thriller by 1 wkt to keep Ashes alive

Leeds, United Kingdom, Aug 25 (AFP) | Publish Date: 8/25/2019 12:16:31 PM IST

Ben Stokes was the hero yet again as his incredible unbeaten century saw England to a thrilling one-wicket win in the third Ashes Test at Headingley on Sunday.

England -- all out for a woeful 67 in their first innings -- were 286-9, still needing 73 more runs to reach a victory target of 359 when bespectacled No 11 Jack Leach walked out to bat to join Stokes at the crease.
Leach, however, held firm with World Cup final winning batting star Stokes’s astonishing 135 not out seeing England complete their highest successful fourth innings chase as they squared the five-match series at 1-1.
Australia, who would have retained the Ashes had they won, missed a clear chance to run Leach out when Nathan Lyon failed to gather a throw and then paid dearly for squandering a review.
All-rounder Stokes eventually flayed fast bowler Pat Cummins for four to seal a famous victory arguably even more improbable than England’s celebrated 1981 Ashes Test success at Headingley when they won after following-on.
This was only the fourth time a team had made more than 300 to win in the fourth innings of a Test at Headingley.
As Leach looked on, all-rounder Stokes went into one-day mode by driving off-spinner Lyon for two straight sixes.
Despite Australia captain Tim Paine having scattered all his fielders to the boundary, Stokes pulled Josh Hazlewood for four to complete a remarkable 199 ball-century -- his second in a row after his 115 not out in the drawn second Test at Lord’s -- featuring eight fours and five sixes.
He rode his luck when a sliced two off Cummins was dropped by a diving Marcus Harris at third man.
Stokes, however, commandingly pulled and drove Cummins’s next two balls for four to leave England just nine runs shy of victory. But a single left Leach on strike with two balls left in the over.
The first of those sailed over Leach’s head and the next saw Australia waste a review for a ball that pitched outside leg stump. England now needed eight -- or two boundaries -- as Stokes faced Leach.
The third ball of the over saw Stokes drive Lyon for a six that just cleared Marnus Labuschagne at long-on and England needed two to win.
A colossal mix-up between Stokes and Leach should have seen the No 11 run out but Lyon fumbled the return. Lyon then had an lbw appeal against Stokes turned down by umpire Joel Wilson only for replays to suggest it would have been out. But Australia had used up all their reviews.
Leach though managed a single that tied the scores as he got off the mark after 59 minutes at the crease. And Stokes then cut Cummins for a boundary to seal an astounding triumph.
BRIEF SCORES: Australia 179 and 246 (Marnus Labuschagne 80; Ben Stokes 3/56); England 67 and 362/9 (Ben Stokes 135 not out, Joe Root 77, Joseph Denly 50; Josh Hazlewood 4/85)

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