On This Day: Fantasy Cricket Witness The Greatest Test Victory ft. Ben Stokes

Ben Stokes
Credits: BBC

Feels like yesterday when we wrote about that famous Ashes test where in an epic England vs Australia encounter; Ben Stokes and Jack Leach built an extraordinary 75-run partnership to seal the test match. As a year passes by to this most legendary test match ever in the history of the Ashes fantasy cricket, BalleBaazi looks back at the iconic turn of events of this test match packed with all the twists and turns of a typical Hollywood thriller.

One ‘Hell’ of a Start for England

One of the best sides in the world and World Cup champions England were piled up for just 67 in the very first innings of the 3rd test match at Headingley. This 67 by England was in reply to Australia’s 179 in the 1st innings, thanks to Jofra Archer’s six-fer. Steve Smith, who missed out on this test match due to the concussion in the previous test was dearly missed but the Aussie pace attack made up really well as Hazlewood picked up his fifer and Cummins-Pattinson did the rest of the damage.

Just More Than a Concussion Substitute

Marnus Labuschagne, who was called a concussion sub for Steve Smith made his presence felt by being the only Aussie to have scored past 50 in order to give England a par score to chase. His phenomenal 80 was halted by an unfortunate run out by Joe Denly but because of his already well-made half-century, Australia gave England a target of 359: a number the Australians love!

The Chase Begins

The English openers struggled yet again and lost both their wickets at the score of 15 for England. It was then when Joe Root and Joe Denly showed impeccable test cricket temperament and completed their individual half-centuries. Denly departed just after reaching his 50 and the partnership was now broken before putting up 126 runs. Ben Stokes came to the crease and after Root departed, Bairstow gave him the required support.

A Phenomenal End to a Phenomenal Test Match

Bairstow & Stokes took the Australian attack to the cleaners and were going great. But eventually, England lost Bairstow at an individual score of 36. Now, from Buttler to Broad only Jofra Archer scored in double figures and England’s feat was left to Jack Leach. Leach & Stokes had just one thing in mind: Stokes to face maximum balls as he started changing gears and dealing in boundaries and sixes. Leach was there just to defend and rotate the strike.

Leach scored just 1 run to give the strike to Stokes. And then after failed reviews, being denied a plumbed LBW decision and being smashed for sixes on toe crushing yorkers, Cummins gifted a half volley to Stokes to which he smashed a boundary and the English crowd roared with joy giving us one of the best spectacles in world cricket. The English celebrations and Aussie disappointments are still very much fresh in our memories and that epic Stokes scream at Headingley as the England players came running to congratulate him remains one of the most epic memories of England cricket.

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