Freakish Ben Stokes keeps Ashes 2019 alive!

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Picture Courtesy: The Guardian

Ben Stokes played one of the best knocks in Test cricket to help England register a heroic 1-wicket win over Australia in the third Ashes 2019 Test match played at Headingley, Leeds on Sunday – leveling the Ashes 2019 at 1-1.

Starting on an overnight score of 156 for 3, England lost the early wicket of Joe Root to a dazzling catch by David Warner in the slips. Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes steadied the innings with attacking stroke play putting pressure on the Australian bowlers. At lunch, England were 238 for 4. Bairstow and Stokes played with confidence showing their class with the bat.

Post lunch, Australia created chances but could not capitalize. Josh Hazlewood finally got the breakthrough dismissing Jonny Bairstow for 36. Ben Stokes stayed at the crease to reach his 50 of 152 balls. Against the run of play, Jos Buttler was brilliantly run-out by Travis Head to a terrible mix-up middle of the pitch with Ben Stokes. Chris Woakes also went cheaply for 1. Jofra Archer scored 15 runs before getting out to Nathan Lyon for 15. James Pattison dismissed Stuart Broad to leave England in big trouble at 286 for 9.

The onus was now, once again – twice in two months on the Kiwi-imported Benjamin Andrew Stokes to bring England home. With 76 runs needed to win, Ben Stokes took on the Australian bowlers and created an impact with big shots. The all-rounder reached his century off 199 balls. After reaching his century, Stokes continued to show his class while Jack Leach gave him full support. It was an impeccable batting performance especially from the point of view of calculations done and executed under such immense pressure. Jack Leach survived a close run out and Ben Stokes was given not out as Australia rued their wasted review. Ben Stokes hit the winning runs and helped England register a remarkable 1-wicket win to setup the Ashes of 2019 beautifully at 1-1.

It was one of the best Test matches in recent times. England captain Joe Root had won the toss and decided to field first. Jofra Archer got the early breakthrough dismissing Marcus Harris before rain stopped play and umpires called lunch. Stuart Broad showed his class and dismissed Usman Khawaja with a review from England. Marnus Labuschagne and David Warner steadied the innings for Australia adding 111 runs for the 3rd wicket. Archer got the breakthrough dismissing Warner for 61. After the fall of Warner’s wicket, England showed their class and bowled out Australia cheaply in their first innings for 179 to end day1.
But you can never count the Aussies out and a sensational bowling display by the Australian bowlers wreaked havoc in the English Camp as England were bowled out for a paltry 67 runs! Josh Hazlewood did most of the damage with figures of 5 for 30. Marnus Labuschagne played another great knock remaining not out on 53 at end of day 2. Australia ended the 2nd day on 171 for 6.

The third day saw Labuschagne score 80. Australia was bowled out for 246. Chasing a target of 359 runs to win, England lost 2 early wickets of Jason Roy and Rory Burns. Joe Root and Joe Denly steadied the innings with a solid partnership 126 runs for the 3rd wicket. England ended the 3rd day at 156 for 3, needing another 203 runs to win.
67 in 27.5 overs (Joe Denly 12, Josh Hazlewood 5/30, Pat Cummins 3/23) and 362 for 9 in 125.4 overs ( Ben Stokes 135*, Josh Hazlewood 4/85) beat Australia 179 in 52.81 overs ( Marnus Labuschagne 74, David Warner 61, Jofra Archer 6/45) and 246 in 75.2 overs ( Marnus Labuschagne 80, Matthew Wade 33, Ben Stokes 3/56, Jofra Archer 2/40) by 1 wicket.

With the series beautifully poised, we move to Machester for the fourth test match starting September 4, 2019. The hosts (England) earned 24 points in ICC Test Championship win.

International Test Championship Points Table:

Picture Courtesy: espncricinfo

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