Stunning Stokes levels series in remarkable run chase | The Daily Star
09:33 PM, August 25, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 09:59 PM, August 25, 2019

Stunning Stokes levels series in remarkable run chase

Ben Stokes hit a stunning unbeaten century as England defeated Australia by one wicket to win an epic third Ashes Test at Headingley on Sunday.

Starting the day looking to prevent Australia from retaining the Ashes, England were 286-9, still 73 runs short of their target. The tourists needed only the win to ensure a series defeat was impossible and the urn would stay in their possession.

However, with one wicket left, England one-day World Cup hero Stokes knew everything depended on him and he smashed a remarkable eight sixes to all corners of the ground to get England within touching distance of their highest-ever second-innings total to win a Test match.

Nathan Lyon missed an easy run-out chance to dismiss England number 10 batsman Jack Leach and Stokes survived loud lbw shouts, with Australia unable to review, before, fittingly, Stokes hit the winning boundary to spark euphoria at Headingley.

Reactions after England's victory:

England captain Joe Root:

"Ben Stokes is a freak, he's incredible. The message at the start was to just keep believing. If we had two people out there still breathing then we have a chance.

"After Stokes got to 60-70 he looked like he wasn't going to get out. To win a game on your own from there is just amazing. He does have recent experience of doing it. Just incredible to watch unfold."

Australia captain Tim Paine:

"Ah look, it happens mate. Ben Stokes has played one of the great innings. It's got to sting but we have to trust our process, we were very close. We are on the right track and we have two more chances to win the Ashes."

England all-rounder Ben Stokes:

"I never gave up. When Jack Leach came in it was pretty clear what I had to do. I told him five and one, I'd take five balls and give him one.

"Leachy is our super-nightwatchman so I backed him knowing what we had to do. I couldn't watch at the end. I couldn't watch the balls going down."

Former England all-rounder Ian Botham:

"It takes a remarkable man and I said this morning that someone needed to front up and be strong.

"I've banged the Ben Stokes drum for a long time now and I know when other players see him they think there is something special about him.

"He is very, very valuable to cricket -- not just England, he will sell the game worldwide. He should enjoy every moment. It was a really remarkable performance."

Former Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne:

"Stokes is one of those guys who you want in the trenches with you; he's one of the guys who train harder than I've ever seen anyone train.

"He's an amazing cricketer and special talent. But when the opportunity presents itself you still have to take it."

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