England look to Stokes for more Headingley heroics in tense third Ashes Test
July 9, 2023 06:00 PM
England were left looking to inspirational captain Ben Stokes for yet more Headingley heroics after losing Joe Root in a tense finish to the third Ashes Test on Sunday.
In a match they had to win to keep their Ashes hopes alive at 2-0 down with three to play, England were 153-4 at lunch on the fourth day -- still needing a further 98 runs to reach a victory target of 251.
Australia, however, are just six wickets away from sealing their first Ashes series win in England in 22 years.
There have only been five higher successful fourth-innings chases to win a Test at Headingley, including England's remarkable 362-9, featuring a stunning 135 not out by Stokes, against Australia in 2019.
Star batsman Root had looked in good touch until on 21 he gloved a delivery from Australia captain Pat Cummins down the legside.
But Harry Brook, a Yorkshire team-mate of Root, was still there on 40 not out having hit six fours, with Stokes unbeaten on seven.
Earlier, Australia's Mitchell Starc (2-44 in 11 overs) dismissed Ben Duckett and Moeen Ali before all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, who had already marked his first Test in four years with a run-a-ball 118, removed Zak Crawley.
England resumed on 27-0 after Australia were dismissed for 224 in their second innings on a rain-marred third day.
After a promising stand of 42 from the England openers, left-arm quick Starc had Duckett lbw for 23.
England then sent in Moeen after Brook had made just three runs at number three during their first-innings 263.
Moeen, however, was bowled for five trying to drive a 90 mile per hour Starc delivery that flattened the left-hander's leg stump to leave England 60-2.
Crawley was in fine touch in making 44 only to fall in familiar fashion when, having driven Marsh for a stylish four through cover-point, he was caught behind next ball on the drive.
Brook though kept England in the hunt, driving and square-cutting first-change Scott Boland for two superb fours off successive deliveries.
Stokes, who came in ahead of Jonny Bairstow in a change to England's batting order, got off the mark first ball with a legside clip off opposing skipper Cummins.
England are bidding to become just the second team to win a Test series from 2-0 down after the 1936/37 Australia side, inspired by batting great Don Bradman, that recovered from that deficit to win an Ashes 3-2.