Stokes century leads England to epic Ashes-saving win at Headingley

Vastavam web: One-and-a-half-month after he guided England to their maiden World Cup victory, Ben Stokes played another knock of the highest quality to script an improbable one-wicket win against Australia and keep the Ashes alive, on Day 4 of the third Test at Headingley on Sunday. The series is now tied 1-1 with two more Tests to go. After being bowled out for just 67 in the first innings, England were up against it, chasing a daunting 359 for victory after Australia put up 246 in the second innings. The visitors were bowled out for 179 in the first innings after England skipper Joe Root put them into bat.

This became the second-highest successfull run chase in Test cricket on English soil and the joint fifth overall. Down in the dumps several times in their second dig, Stokes — who was unbeaten on 84 in the World Cup final on July 14 at Lord’s — once again remained unconquered on 135 from 219 balls, his innings laced with 11 fours and a whopping eight sixes.

Bairstow was caught by Marnus Labuschagne at second slip off Josh Hazlewood after lunch. Things fell apart for the hosts after that as Jos Buttler (1) was needlessly run out and Chris Woakes (1) was caught by Mathew Wade at short extra cover to give Hazlewood his fourth wicket. Stuart Broad was trapped in front by James Pattinson as England were 286/9 with 73 runs still remaining. What transpired from there on was stuff of legends as Stokes singlehandedly dragged England out of nowhere to a historic triumph, making him one of the finest all-rounders the game has ever produced.

Tailender Jack Leach (1 not out) hung on well as they stitched together a series saving unbroken 76-run stand for the last wicket. Drama reigned supreme towards the end. With two runs to win, Nathan Lyon missed a gilt-edged chance to run Leach out as he could not hold on to the ball. In the next ball, all the Aussies went up for a big lbw appeal but umpire Chris Gaffaney turned it down, with the tourists having no reviews remaining.

Replays showed Stokes was out as the ball pitched on line and was going to hit the stumps. After playing 17 balls to remain on nought, Leach scampered to a single to open his account and tie the match with the crowd raising the roof.