LEEDS, August 25
An extraordinary 135 not out from Ben Stokes earned England an exciting one-wicket victory in the third Ashes Test to level the series against Australia at 1-1, with the home side chasing down a record target of 359 in a dramatic fashion.
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 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 No. 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.
Smith likely to play 4th Test
Steve Smith is hoping for a return for the fourth Ashes Test, after taking part in a light net session for the first time since suffering concussion. According to a report, Smith faced throwdowns from assistant coaches Graeme Hick and Sridharan Sriram and looked in his elements after he was hit by a fast Jofra Archer bouncer which ruled him out of the third Test.
Smith is also likely to play in the three-day tour match against Derbyshire at Derby starting on Thursday. — Agencies
135* By Ben Stokes is 3rd highest score for England in a successful 4th innings chase, behind Mark Butcher’s 173 vs Aus at Leeds in 2001, and Jack Brown’s 140 vs Aus at Melbourne in 1895
74 Of the last 76 runs for England were scored by Stokes. He made 74 off only 45 balls. Early in his innings, he had been ultra-defensive, with 3 off 73 runs at one stage. Overnight he had 2 off 50
76* The partnership between Stokes and Leach, the 2nd-higest for the 10th wicket in a successful chase in the fourth innings. Leach contributed 1 run to the partnership
78* Is the record 10th wicket partnership in a successful 4th innings chase, between Kusal Perera and Vishwa Fermando vs South Africa at Durban in February 2019
143 Runs and 4 wickets for Ben Stokes in the match
11 Times teams have chased over 350 in 4th innings to win a Test. The highest is 418/7 by WI vs Australia at St John’s in 2003
67 England’s first-innings total. There are only 3 instances of teams scoring fewer runs in an innings, in a Test they ended up winning, all in 1880s
2 This is only the second successful 350-plus 4th innings chase in England, after Australia chased 404 at Leeds in 1948