Australia: 179 a/o (Marcus Labuschagne- 74, Jofra Archer(6/45) ) -1st innings
England: 67 a/o (Joe Denly- 12, Josh Hazelwood(5/30) ) -1st innings
Australia: 246 a/o (Marcus Labuschagne- 80, Ben Stokes(3/56) ) -2nd innings
England: 362/9 (Ben Stokes- 135*, Josh Hazelwood(4/85) ) -2nd innings
On this day, Ben Stokes pulled out an magnificent one wicket victory against Australia on 3rd Ashes Test Series 2019. Some critics argue this game as one of the best test matches of all time. New Zealand born English man put up an mind boggling solo effort to win the game for England on almost impossible circumstances.
On the first innings, thanks to Jofra Archer’s 6-for, Australia could put up only 179 runs despite Labuschagne’s brilliant 74 runs, who was playing as injured Steve Smith’s replacement but when England came out to bat, it was absolute disaster. Thanks to Hazelwood’s 5/30, England were bowled out for cheap 67 runs. At this point of time, the odds for England winning the game was rock bottom.
On the 2nd innings, Australia were all out for 246 runs setting up a 350+ target for England. Marcus Labuschagne once again came handy for the Aussies, hitting 80 runs although disappointed not to get his century there. All rounder Stokes took 3 wickets before England came out to bat again.
On the 2nd innings for England, the openers fell cheap early on the innings similar they did in the first innings. Joe Denly and Joe Root scored 77 and 50 runs respectively trying to bring momentum into the innings. After they got out, apart from Jonny Bairstow’s 36, the lower middle order failed to deliver as both Buttler and Woakes fell for 1 runs. At this point of time, it was looking evident that England would lose the game. When Stuart Broad got out for nought, England were standing at 286/9, still requiring 76 runs to win.
What happened after that could be defined as ‘script wrote in the heavens’. Ben Stokes was hitting the ball explicitly without any fear as he had nothing to lose at that point of the time. He hit Nathan Lyon for 3 consecutive sixes and Josh Hazelwood for four and two sixes in three consecutive balls in the next over to bring up his century. Australia too had their moments meanwhile but unlike England, they failed to capitalize on it. When England was 17 runs away from win, Stokes was dropped. In the next over, England just required 2 runs when Nathan Lyon missed a run out chance of Jack Leach.
Stokes took the single off the ball of of Pat Cummings to win the game for England and level the series 1-1. What was even more astonishing was the fact that out of 76 runs partnership for the last wicket, he scored 75 of them. His 135* runs included 11 fours and 8 sixes. People argue this as one of the best test innings given the situation it came off. Ben Stokes replicated the role he played in Cricket World Cup final win which was 6 weeks ago the test match. He proved that no matter the format, his performance would always remain at the pinnacle of the game.