It was a sensational display of cricket over the weekend. England claimed a one wicket victory during the third Ashes Test at Headlingley thanks to the mesmerising performance from batsman, Ben Stokes. Scoring an unbeaten 135, we examine the man who revived England’s Ashes dream.
Our chances of claiming the urn were not looking promising up until last Sunday. England had not put up the most inspiring Ashes performance, leaving many cricket fans in a state of disillusionment. With an Aussie victory during the first Test at Edgbaston and a draw during the second at Lord’s, fans could be forgiven for feeling a tad pessimistic. All remaining hopes of England winning the third Ashes Test lay on Stokes’ shoulders. Despite the tremendous pressure, Stokes was able to persevere in what has been described as one of the greatest comebacks in sporting history. His efforts were precisely the standard of cricket we needed to see in order to lift our troubled spirits.
With England’s Ashes hopes teetering on the edge, it would be all too easy to buckle under the weight of cricket fan’s expectations. However, despite the cynicism, Stokes’ persistence brought about not only a fantastic result but a monumental sporting moment. His performance is a perfect example of what can be achieved when a sportsman is both focused and dedicated. Fellow cricketer and close friend, Moeen Ali, claimed that ‘what we witnessed on Sunday wasn’t a fluke, it was the result of hard work.’
Many are comparing Stokes’ performance to that of cricket legend, Ian Botham, when he made his unbeaten 149, also at Headingley, back in 1981. Beefy Botham himself recently commented that Stokes’ life will never be the same again. “He is public property but it is a great place to be in for the long term. It will set him up for life. He will reap the rewards which he richly deserves and he is now a box office attraction.’
Cricket Fans took to social media to voice their astonishment and excitement at the Ashes magic that was unfolding before our very eyes. As the runs continued, the anticipation expanded for England fans. Spectators were on the edge of their seats as the atmosphere intensified. Many have commented that we probably won’t get the chance to witness cricket action that intense for some time. Former captain of the Indian national cricket team, Sachin Tendulkar, commented how this was an example of how Test cricket can be the ‘toughest and most entertaining format of cricket’ and how Stokes’ innings are something that will be talked about ‘for a very long time’.
The man of the moment has recently attributed his sporting success to his wife Clare, stating how supportive she has been. Stokes has faced difficulty over the years. He was charged in relation to an incident that occurred outside a Bristol nightclub back in 2017. He credited Clare for being the one responsible for helping him turn his life around and focus back on cricket. ‘Your family go through everything with you, good and bad, so it is great to be able to celebrate with them at times like this.’ And just how do you think Mr Stokes celebrated this spectacular Ashes win? With none other than a £55 splurge at the McDonalds drive-thru!
This amazing win has unsurprisingly provided the nation with a healthy dose of Ashes fever. No doubt, Australia will have been left baffled by the whirlwind victory of their opponents. Australia will be looking to make a comeback during the fourth Test after their unbelievable defeat. Will they come back fighting or will this unexpected triumph have them rattled? Steve Smith is due to re-join The Baggy Greens after having to sit out the third Test at Lord’s due to concussion at the hands of Jofra Archer. With the Aussies star player back on the scene, who knows what the result will be. One thing that Sunday’s outcome proved is that cricket is not a game that can be easily predicted!
Ultimately, what a thrill it was to be able to witness such a triumphant moment of sporting history. We can confidently hold our heads high as we advance onto next Ashes Test at Old Trafford which begins on 4th September. Can England replicate the action of last weekend and bring us into victory once again?