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On This Day in 2019: Ben Stokes Inspires England to Miraculous Win vs Australia

On this day, August 25, 2019, cricket saw one of the best individualistic performances in Test history by none other than Ben Stokes. Goosebumps and shivers run down one’s spine on remembering the heroics of Stokes who led England to their biggest winning chase at Headingley, Leeds. When the chips were down and the odds stacked against the hosts, Stokes stood tall as he led England to a one wicket win over Australia in the third Test of the five-match series.
It was Stokes’ year as the Englishman was instrumental in England winning the 2019 World Cup against New Zealand, and six weeks later, the all-rounder dragged England from the ashes to keep the series alive. Ben Stokes won the 2019 ICC Cricket of the Year award for his valiant and heroic performances, with the Leeds Test being the prominent performance from the lot.

Recalling to the toss at Headinley, England won and opted to bowl. The match started with a cracker and given the overcast conditions on Day 1, Australia were stunned as they could not handle Jofra Archer’s pace; the Barbados bowler registered figures of 6/45.

Australia were bowled out for 179 and simply managed to put runs on the board, courtesy of David Warner’s 61 and Marnus Labuschagne 74. Three Australian batsmen were bowled out for a duck and five batsmen scored below 10 runs. England had Australia where they wanted them.

However, returning the favour, Australia bowled out England for 67, in 27.5 overs. The hosts did not expect the demolition at all. Josh Hazlewood starred with 5/30, Pat Cummins with 3/23 and James Pattinson with 2/9.

Coming into Australia’s second innings, the visitors managed to post 246 on the board with Labuschagne once again delivering for the Australians with a solid 80. England were set a target of 359 runs to chase.

Once again, England were off to a poor start, losing openers at 15/2 in 6.3 overs. However, anchoring the ship was captain Joe Root along with Joe Denly as they built a decent partnership to keep England on route. The duo stiched up a 100+ partnership before Denly was removed for 50 by Hazlewood.

Root along with Stokes led England onwards, however the skipper didn’t stay long as Nathon Lyon got the captain’s number, departing for 77. Bairstow (36) and Buttler (1) could not contribute much and the onus was on Stokes to lead England forward.

Despite wickets falling, Stokes stood strong in the chase on Day 4 and when it came to the last man standing, Jack Leach, the spinner defended superbly as Australia were one wicket away from a win. Headingly erupted when Stokes scored the winning runs in the form of a boundary as England won the 3rd Test in Leeds by one wicket, with Stokes standing as a hero in the center of the field. His unbeaten 136 will forever be the epitome as heroics in Test cricket history.

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