England were battered and bruised and they still needed 73 runs with only one wicket in their hands. And from 286-9, they won it.
Well, here’s a question - how do you define Ben Stokes’ innings? Easy answer - you don’t.
Well, England were battered and bruised and they still needed 73 runs with only one wicket in their hands. And from 286-9, they won it. The last-wicket stand produced 76 runs, and Jack leach had contributed only a single run. Yes, that’s how monstrous Stokes was. He smashed the Aussie bowlers all around the wicket, even when he mistimed, the ball magically flew over the boundary.
He had come to the pitch last evening and played out 50 balls only to score two. But when it mattered on the fourth day, he made sure that the visitors did not retain the Ashes. He hit 11 fours and eight sixes on his way to 135 and when Pat Cummins put it wide outside off, he duly sent it to the boundary.
Australia would still moan about their missed opportunities and the umpiring decision that went against them. England needed two to win when Leach ran too far down the pitch and was an easy run-out opportunity, only for Nathan Lyon to drop the ball and miss the chance. The very next ball, Stokes went for a hoick and the ball crashed on to his back leg, only for the umpire to not give him LBW. The ball-tracker showed that it would’ve crashed on to the stumps, but Australia had already wasted their review on a silly appeal down the leg side.
But still, that doesn’t take away the brilliance of Stokes’innings. His 135 will go down as one of the best in the history of test cricket, and might arguably be the best of all-time. Just consider the fact that England were bowled out for 67 in the very same pitch.
England needed 203 at the start of the day with skipper Joe Root and Stokes at the crease. Root went early in the day as he was caught brilliantly in the slips by David Warner off Lyon. But Stokes put up a solid 86-run stand with Bairstow to show the English some hope. But Bairstow’s dismissal of Hazlewood started a collapse as England were soon reduced to 286-9. And then started the Ben Stokes, and boy, weren’t we entertained! Test cricket once again just proved its worth, well, who doubted it?
There was only one player who could be adjudged man of the match, and Ben Stokes it was. The Ashes is now level at 1-1, and now the English will fight to bring it home while the Aussies will look to retain.
The fourth test commences on the 4th of September at Old Trafford, and Steve Smith will be returning for Australia.