Ben Stokes snatches victory from the jaws of defeat
The all-rounder has made it a habit to enthrall viewers with riveting finishes. His World Cup 2019 heroics is still a hot topic in the town and he pulls off another mesmerizing knock. The one-man army put up an outrageous show in the 3rd Ashes test that has proved to be a great advert for red-ball cricket.
What transpired at the jam-packed Headingley Cricket Ground has put thoughts of 'test cricket in peril' to bed as England chased 359, their highest ever total in tests, in a cliffhanger of a game. Outpouring with emotions, Stokes, in a post-match conference, said: "top two feelings I've ever had on a cricket field"
Commentators, spectators, pundits, novices, legends, journalists and just about everyone thought England didn't stand a chance. It was destined to be another humdrum routine test match where the batting side crumbles in the last innings under trying conditions.
Michael Holding in the voice commentary thought it was improbable for England to get over the line. Perhaps, he forgot for a moment about the anomaly in England who thrives in crisis. Benjamin Andrew Stokes ignored all those platitudinous remarks.
Kusal Perera & Vishwa Fernando: 78* v South Africa— ICC (@ICC) August 25, 2019
Ben Stokes & Jack Leach: 76* v Australia
The two largest 10th wicket partnerships in winning run chases have taken place in 2019.#Ashes pic.twitter.com/DXq6ynKu9s
Remember Stokes was up against the specialist longer-format bowling attack featuring the likes of number one ranked bowler Pat Cummins, the bowling machine, Josh Hazlewood, and Nathan Lyon, who became the 3rd highest wicket-taker for Australia. England vice-captain stood firm on his crease against all odds, amid losing his teammates in quick succession.
That instant when David Warner took a sprawling catch in the slip cordon to snare England captain Joe Root, most of us thought that he’d won the game, retained the Ashes urn, and it felt like Australia sniffed an opportunity to trigger a batting collapse. However, there was sheer madness to follow. The loyal English supporters in the aisles had a glimmer of hope when their team was folding but they didn't drop their intensity and kept rooting for their side till the very end.
Things didn't look that bad when England were just 4 down for 245 as the match wasn't tilted heavily in favor of Australia. But then the flurry of wickets of Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, and Stuart Broad made it look like an inevitable defeat for the hosts.
Many batsmen in pressing circumstances would snap under pressure, accept their fate while staring into the abyss and with an inexperienced Jack Leach at the other end. With 76 more to win, they would rather search for a dignified loss instead of a memorable victory.
Ben Stokes did just the polar opposite. He showed faith in Leach who mustered all his courage to survive a few deliveries left by Stokes at the end of each over. Stokes smashed opposition 360 degrees all over the park and with every boundary, fans' heart skipped a beat. When he finally clattered one through covers and conquered the insurmountable, there was not a tinge of doubt regarding his prowess and strength of will.
This has surely been Ben Stokes's year – clinches the World Cup for England; pulls his team back against Australia when the chips were down and as a consequence has hauled England right back in the hunt of winning the Ashes.