DateLine: 26th August 2019
By Andy Jalil at Headingley
STOKES TAKES ENGLAND TO MEMORABLE TEST VICTORY
Numerous times Australia threatened to take the final wicket they needed for a victory that had seemed inevitable, only to fluff their lines repeatedly. Stokes was dropped on 116 when he sent a top edge off Pat Cummins towards third man, where Marcus Harris got his hands to it but couldn't hold on. Australia then wasted a review - which would come back to haunt them - when Cummins rapped Leach on the pad and the DRS confirmed the ball had pitched well outside leg. When Stokes only just cleared the man on the rope for a six off Nathan Lyon, the crowd went wild and England needed just two more to win.
Two balls later, Leach should have been run out after going for a non-existent single, but Lyon fumbled as he tried to gather the throw from backward point. Stokes should have been out lbw attempting to slog-sweep the very next ball, which was pitching on middle and leg and shown by Hawk-Eye to be hitting the stumps, but with no reviews left, Australia could do nothing. It was a glaring umpiring error. Shame that two (along with the World Cup final) high profile cricket matches ended with umpiring mistakes.
Earlier, England showed ultra-caution in their approach at the start of the fourth day, bearing in mind the task ahead needed great determination and application. They still needed 203 runs to win with the first three in the batting order dismissed on the previous day. With defensive batting and intent on keeping wickets intact, it was the fifth over of the morning before a run was scored. Normally an aggressive batsman, Stokes, who was on 2 overnight from 50 balls, faced a further 17 balls before scoring.
The breakthrough for Australia came after 25 minutes in the sixth over when Joe Root, after scoring just 2 from 16 balls, having been 75 overnight from 189 balls, stepped out of his crease to hit Lyon but got an inside edge on to his pad before the ball went to slip for David Warner claim his sixth catch of the match. It was a brilliant diving catch, behind the wicketkeeper and it was the third ball of Lyon’s first over.
It was an excellent bowling change by Tim Paine and it did the job before the second new ball was taken. With that wicket Lyon took his tally of Test wickets to 356, going past Dennis Lillee but behind Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath among Australia bowlers. Lyon soon gave way to the pace bowlers as the second new ball was taken after 80.3 overs but it proved to be ineffective as the next success for Australia did not come until nearly 20 overs later.
Australia seemed well on top after Jonny Bairstow was held at second slip within 15 minutes after lunch after putting on 86 for the fifth wicket and three overs later Jos Buttler was run out with Stokes sending him back to the non-strikers end as they attempted a quick single. Another three overs later Chris Woakes fell to a soft dismissal, pushing at cover and that was 261 for seven with 98 still needed by England. Stokes had brought up his 19th and slowest Test fifty during the stand.
The total was raised to 286 when both Jofra Archer and Stuart Broad were out. Archer, caught on the boundary for 15 and Broad lbw to James Pattinson without scoring. When Jack Leach joined Stokes England needed 73 from the last wicket and despite Stokes being at the crease on 61 at the time, little did anyone think that England would complete the job. But Stokes had other ideas.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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