Jack Leach explained the glasses regimen during England's incredible one-wicket Ashes defeat of Australia that has earned him free spectacles for life.

The England spinner, his side's last man in, made a vital one not out as Ben Stokes bludgeoned the tourists' attack at Headingley on Sunday to level the five-Test series at 1-1.

All-rounder Stokes and Leach saw England through to their record run chase of 362-9, with the latter regularly pausing the action to wipe his glasses clear with a cloth.

In the aftermath of one of Test cricket's greatest comeback wins, Stokes then used social media to call on sponsors Specsavers to give Leach free glasses for life, a request the company quickly agreed to fulfil.

"I just have to make sure they are clean every time they were facing up because I would really regret it if it had been smudged!" Leach told reporters.

"It's been hot a couple of times. I got out there and they zoomed in on the glasses. Just had to stay calm and do the job at hand. I felt good out there, I was really focused on what I needed to do."

Although Stokes stole the show, Leach also won countless fans having played a key supporting role to the explosive all-rounder. Told he is now a cult hero, Leach replied: "That's nice. I don't know what it is.

"It's probably because I look like a village cricketer out there in my glasses, the bald head and maybe people think 'that could be me!'

"All the others look pretty professional. The support's been amazing, the support today for all of us was incredible. The noise was insane, and I'm just enjoying playing for England."

Victory for England was far from smooth. Leach survived a misplaced Australian review - Tim Paine wasting his last, which the captain would later need when Stokes was plumb but given not out by umpire Joel Wilson - and should have been run out only for Nathan Lyon to fumble.

"There were two balls left so I thought he [Stokes] might squeeze a single so that I could face one and he'd have the next over," Leach said of that dramatic moment. "As it turned out, I was on strike for the next over, but I managed to nudge one.

"That was not a nice moment but it's all good. I don't want to focus on that moment, I want to focus on running down to Stokes when he hit the winning runs!"

Stokes wrote his name into Ashes folklore with one of Test cricket's most remarkable knocks, eight sixes in a bravura knock of 135 not out following comparable heroics as England won the Cricket World Cup in similarly incredible circumstances last month.

"He was unbelievable. Walking out with 73 to win, I don't know if you believe you can do it, you just break it down more than that, a little bit at a time," Leach added of England's matchwinner.

"I wanted to do my job, because he was saying he'd face four or five balls an over. I got on with it and it quite quickly seemed to go down and suddenly it's eight to win, and you're like 'oh my god'.

"Stokesy straight away is thinking about how he will knock off the runs. He is obviously believing that it's definitely going to happen. It seemed quite simple. I can't remember who was bowling, [James] Pattinson I think.

"It was about just getting through to the end of that over, and I managed to do that. It is all a bit of a blur to be honest. I didn't want to get in Stokesy's bubble when he was doing really well, hitting those sixes.

"I didn't want to say too much but I also wanted him to just focus on the next ball, especially when we got close. He said in the changing room that he got nervous when it was down to eight. It seemed so close but the way we were playing it was still quite far away.

"I just wanted him to focus on every ball, and if it was there he would hit it for six."

Ben Stokes' remarkable heroics at Headingley mean the Ashes series is all square at 1-1 with two to play.

But beyond what can reasonably be considered among the greatest Test innings of all time in one of the most remarkable finales in the history of cricket's longest format, there is plenty for England and Australia to consider.

The flaws of both teams have contributed to the undulating drama of this series every bit as much as individual brilliance on each side.

Before they reconvene at Old Trafford next week, here are some selection quandaries England and Australia must ponder.

ENGLAND

Roy's race is run

While Stokes has transferred his golden Cricket World Cup form to the Test format, the punt on white-ball specialist Jason Roy bringing his talents to bear at the top of the England order has failed to come off.

A best of 28 has been followed by four consecutive failures to reach double figures, with muddled footwork and a lost off stump making it seem cruel to ask Roy to keep on facing the new ball. Dropping into the middle order, with Joe Denly promoted to open, is one option, though a spell out of the side feels kinder right now.

Should England want to bring in a new face alongside Rory Burns, Warwickshire's Dominic Sibley is the leading option thanks to three centuries and four fifties in the County Championship this season.

Buttler best left out?

Over the course of three Tests, Jos Buttler has edged down from five to seven in the England order. A gutsy second-innings 31 at Lord's is his only effort to recommend among a string of single-figure scores, even if he could do little about being run out by Headingley hero Stokes.

Surrey's Ollie Pope thumped an unbeaten double century against Hampshire earlier this month and looks ripe for a recall to the middle order in place of either Roy or Buttler.

Bowling at the James Anderson End… James Anderson?

Chris Woakes has become increasingly peripheral with the ball and Australia have nullified his all-round capabilities with short-pitched assaults. The identity of England's third seamer looks likely to change at Old Trafford.

James Anderson would love to feature at his home ground but must do more to prove his fitness in an outing with Lancashire's second XI this week.

Sam Curran would provide left-arm variety and accomplished batting from number eight in the order, yet may once again miss out on selection.

 

AUSTRALIA

Smith in for who?

Steve Smith could return from his concussion-enforced absence and the tourists are not short of candidates to make way.

Usman Khawaja is without a half-century in the series and his airy 23 during the second innings at Headingley stood as a jarring counterpoint to Marnus Labuschagne's application.

Travis Head and Matthew Wade might also need to help their cause in this week's tour match at Derbyshire.

Starc in for who?

Mitchell Starc has been a spectator so far but could be drafted into the XI to bowl on an Old Trafford surface well-suited to his talents.

The left-arm paceman's relative inability to bowl "dry" means he is an uneasy fit with Australia's overall gameplan, but his expertise against the tail would have been a huge asset in Leeds.

Taking out any seamer involved in rolling England for a first-innings 67 would be harsh, but James Pattinson would appear the most vulnerable.

Marsh an option to bolster attack

For the first time in the series, Australia's four-man attack looked tired as they wilted in the Headingley heat.

The lack of top-six batsmen emphatically stating their case could open the door to Mitchell Marsh. The all-rounder hit two centuries in the last Ashes series in Australia and his right-arm seam would ease the load on a supreme but now-wounded bowling unit.

Australia coach Justin Langer has challenged his batsmen to stand up and be counted with the Ashes on the line.

Ben Stokes' stunning 135 not out snatched a scarcely believable one-wicket win for England at a raucous Headingley on Sunday to level the five-match series at 1-1.

Although the spectacle of Stokes bludgeoning a flagging Australian attack into the stands will live long in the memory, Langer's post-match attention was focused on a batting line up that failed to pass 250 twice in the match to leave the door ajar.

"One thing I do know is we're not batting well enough at the moment," Langer told reporters.

"I said at the start of the series that the team that bats best will win the Ashes. We're certainly not at our best with our batting at the moment.

"We've got some real questions to ask for the practice game and then the fourth Test match."

The practice game in question comes at Derbyshire this week, ahead of the fourth Test at Old Trafford that begins on September 4.

Steve Smith is set to return following his concussion-enforced absence in Leeds, while Marnus Labuschagne has impressed with three consecutive half-centuries after stepping in to replace Australia's former captain.

Elsewhere, there is little else to recommend, with number three Usman Khawaja failing to pass 50 in six attempts so far.

"There's a number of guys who will be looking to play well, not just Uzzy [Khawaja]," Langer said.

"Uzzy averages 40 in Test match cricket, he got a Test hundred seven innings ago. We know he's a very good player and he, like the rest of them, will be working hard to be ready for the fourth Test.

Another obvious area of improvement for Australia is their use of the Decision Review System, which was brought into sharp focus by Stokes' dramatic reprieve with the finish line in sight.

Replays showed Nathan Lyon's rejected lbw appeal would have hit middle and leg, although captain Tim Paine's rash decision to send a Pat Cummins shout against last man Jack Leach upstairs in the previous over meant Australia had no reviews left.

"We've been really poor at it this whole series, actually. We've talked a lot about getting better at our reviews," Langer said.

"There wasn't so many this game as there was at Lord's but we have control of that. We've got the way we go about it but sometimes you don't quite get it right.

"To be fair, the one off Pat Cummins at the end, we were getting pretty desperate at the end. That's just how it works out."

Langer added: "We're all feeling it. My gosh, you have no idea how much that hurts. But whether you're the captain, the coach or the senior players you've got to get back up."

It was one of the most remarkable centuries ever compiled and yet there was no raise of the bat from Ben Stokes, barely an acknowledgement of the extraordinary feat he had just achieved.

He ushered Jack Leach away from a fist bump and sheepishly flicked his hand in the direction of the England dressing room in the hope of getting them to end their applause.

Stokes was not ungrateful, just a man hellbent on his mission, and at that point the collective goal was still 33 runs away, a dot on the horizon.

"Personal milestones, especially in that situation, mean absolutely nothing," Stokes said later. "There was still a lot more runs to get."

He would strike his next two deliveries for back-to-back sixes. This was a man who had taken 83 balls to reach double figures but had traded in the Morris Minor approach for a style befitting a Ferrari, accelerating away to clinch an incredible one-wicket victory that kept the Ashes alive.

It should also be held up as the reason why Test cricket should not just remain alive, but thrive.

In an era of instant gratification, of 280 characters, of disappearing 'stories' and fast fashion, Test cricket is an outlier. It's a game viewed as too long to be consumed by the masses. Not colourful enough, not loud enough, not thrilling enough.

And yet the third Test between England and Australia was a reminder of its enduring quality. No other sport can match the steady accumulation of intrigue and tension across days, with a myriad of factors that can swing a pendulum this way and that.

How can England have been rolled for 67 inside 28 overs on Friday and then, two days later, amass 362-9? How can Stokes have led the way with 11 boundaries and eight sixes having started the day on two from 50 balls?

Perhaps it should not have been surprising, for this is swiftly turning into the English summer of Stokes.

The last time these two nations met in the Ashes, Stokes was withdrawn from consideration having been arrested for an incident following a fight outside a nightclub in Bristol. Without their talisman, England were beaten 4-0.

Stokes was later cleared of affray and, upon being told he would miss no further England matches in December 2018, he issued a statement that said he "learned lessons that will stay with me for much longer".

Just as England did at Headingley after their first-innings debacle, Stokes was given a second chance and has certainly grabbed it.

It was his brilliance in the Cricket World Cup final which delivered the trophy for England at Lord's last month, and he was the headline act again at Headingley on Sunday when making a brilliant 135 not out.

As his captain Joe Root said: "Games like that just make Test cricket the best."

Football may have 90 minutes of action-packed drama. Super Bowls might have three and a half hours of cat-and-mouse chess. But Stokes reminded everyone that nothing can beat the topsy-turvy theatre of Test match cricket when it's done right.

Ben Stokes produced the innings of a lifetime to rescue England's Ashes dream on a remarkable day of Test cricket at Headingley on Sunday.

A dismal first-innings total of 67 left England's chances of regaining the urn seemingly in tatters and a daunting target of 359 meant the home side needed to record their biggest successful Test run chase to prevent Australia taking an unassailable 2-0 lead.

Joe Root and Joe Denly's sublime century stand a day before laid the foundation for an unreal day four, though, as Stokes – just a month on from his heroics in the Cricket World Cup final – once again came to his side's rescue.

An unbeaten 135 helped secure a truly memorable one-wicket victory, with Jack Leach playing an unlikely side-kick by safely seeing off 17 balls for the return of one run.

A raucous Leeds crowd saluted their hero and below we take a look at the key moments of one of the greatest days in Test history.


ROOT BLOW LEAVES ENGLAND WOUNDED

Many predicted England's hopes would hinge largely on the performance of captain Root, whose stand with Denly had given the hosts a fighting chance in the first place. But Root will have been kicking himself after an ill-advised charge on Nathan Lyon looped off his pad, over wicketkeeper Tim Paine and drew a stunning catch on the dive to his left from David Warner. Having added just two to his overnight score, England were at 159-4.

STOKES AND BAIRSTOW CHIP AWAY

That was the only damage done to England's scoreboard in the morning session as Stokes and Jonny Bairstow sought about chipping away at the target. It took Stokes 83 balls to reach double figures, while his partner scored slightly quicker. It was a crucial partnership for England.

BAIRSTOW DISMISSAL TRIGGERS COLLAPSE

Stokes and Bairstow led England to 238-4 by lunch, but things unravelled in the afternoon session. Bairstow's poor waft at Josh Hazlewood's delivery, which was moving away, was pouched gleefully by Marnus Labuschagne in the slips. A horror miscommunication between Stokes and Jos Buttler saw the latter run out for just one, and Chris Woakes (1) and Stuart Broad (0) went cheaply either side of an entertaining 15 from Jofra Archer. Enter Jack Leach.

STOKES SWINGS FOR THE FENCES

At 286-9, Stokes decided the time was right to start swinging the bat and boy did he do so. Lyon was given the treatment – including a remarkable reverse sweep over the ropes – while Hazlewood was whacked for six off back-to-back balls. Stokes' brilliance had dramatically brought England back into the match, but there were a few more nervy moments along the way…

WICKET REPRIEVES

Every great story needs some peaks and troughs, and so it was for England. Had Marcus Harris clung onto an undercooked Stokes slog at third man, or Lyon not missed a simple-looking run-out with Leach well out of his crease, then the course of history would have been markedly different. There was more bad news for Lyon when video technology showed he had Stokes pinned lbw not long after, but the decision was not given on the field and Australia had already burned their reviews. It was a huge moment for England.

STOKES SEALS IT IN STYLE

That failed appeal still left Leach on strike and England needing two to win and one to draw. The number 11's gutsy resistance returned a single run with a jab past short leg off Pat Cummins, which brought Stokes back to the fore. Headingley waited with bated breath and Stokes smacked one through the covers before throwing his arms wide and roaring in sheer jubilation at the miracle he had just orchestrated.

Ben Stokes said his heroic Ashes knock was fuelled by a "knock-off Nando's" and two chocolate bars.

The all-rounder played one of the great Test innings as England levelled the five-match series against Australia with a highly unlikely one-wicket victory at Headingley on day four on Sunday.

Stokes was the catalyst for success with a mesmeric 135 not out as England won despite having made just 67 in the first innings and slipped to 286-9 in the second.

On Saturday, Stokes was required to bowl for extended spells due to cramp for Jofra Archer before making two off 50 balls to close out a difficult final session alongside Joe Root – whose own century partnership with Joe Denly was also crucial to victory.

Prior to that day's play Stokes was refuelling by tucking into some pasta, but ahead of one of the greatest innings of his life he went for a different tack to increase the energy levels by indulging in some piri-piri chicken.

"My wife and kids came down [on Friday]. They got to their hotel about 10 o'clock. My wife walked in to me eating pasta in my boxer shorts!" Stokes said.

"Last night...I think I had like a knock-off Nando's and two bars of Yorkie Biscuit and Raisin."

A determined Stokes did not celebrate making his fifty or century in Leeds as is the traditional custom in cricket.

Stokes explained that in the context of the match those achievements meant nothing, such was the perilous position England faced.

"I looked at the bigger picture. There was still a lot of runs to get. Personal milestones, especially in that situation, mean absolutely nothing," he added. 

"There was still a lot more runs to get. I was not bothered about how many runs I was on, it was all about making sure we got over the line. I did not really care to be honest."

It was hard for anyone to believe what they were seeing from Ben Stokes in the third Ashes Test between England and Australia on Sunday, but supporting batsman Jack Leach shouldn't have any issues with his vision in future following the promise of free glasses for life from Specsavers.

The scenario was bleak at Headingley when Leach entered at number 11 with England 286-9 in pursuit of 359 to save the Test and prevent Australia from taking an unassailable 2-0 lead that would have seen them retain the urn.

Stokes was England's inspiration as his unbeaten 135 led the hosts to a one-wicket triumph and kept the series alive with two matches to play.

While the all-rounder, a hero of England's Cricket World Cup success last month, stole the headlines, the bespectacled Leach's gritty resistance – where he made one run off 17 balls – did not go unnoticed.

Indeed, Stokes was so appreciative of his partner's efforts he reached out to opticians Specsavers on Twitter, writing: "Jack Leach........@Specsavers do your self [sic] a favour and give him free glasses for life @jackleach1991." 

And the plea prompted a positive response, with Specsavers' official account replying: "We can confirm we will offer Jack Leach free glasses for life."

Throughout the match-winning 76-run stand with Stokes, Leach was regularly seen cleaning his glasses to help keep his concentration.

"I had to make sure my glasses were clean," he said.

"I know I look stupid when I am out there but it got the job done."

Ben Stokes said his heroic Ashes knock was fuelled by a "knock-off Nando's" and two chocolate bars.

The all-rounder played one of the great Test innings as England levelled the five-match series against Australia with a highly unlikely one-wicket victory at Headingley on day four on Sunday.

Stokes was the catalyst for success with a mesmeric 135 not out as England won despite having made just 67 in the first innings and slipped to 286-9 in the second.

On Saturday, Stokes was required to bowl for extended spells due to cramp for Jofra Archer before making two off 50 balls to close out a difficult final session alongside Joe Root – whose own century partnership with Joe Denly was also crucial to victory.

Prior to that day's play Stokes was refuelling by tucking into some pasta, but ahead of one of the greatest innings of his life he went for a different tack to increase the energy levels by indulging in some piri-piri chicken.

"My wife and kids came down [on Friday]. They got to their hotel about 10 o'clock. My wife walked in to me eating pasta in my boxer shorts!" Stokes said.

"Last night...I think I had like a knock-off Nando's and two bars of Yorkie Biscuit and Raisin."

A determined Stokes did not celebrate making his fifty or century in Leeds as is the traditional custom in cricket.

Stokes explained that in the context of the match those achievements meant nothing, such was the perilous position England faced.

"I looked at the bigger picture. There was still a lot of runs to get. Personal milestones, especially in that situation, mean absolutely nothing," he added. 

"There was still a lot more runs to get. I was not bothered about how many runs I was on, it was all about making sure we got over the line. I did not really care to be honest."

Tim Paine refused to blame Australia's astonishing Headingley loss on umpire Joel Wilson who failed to spot Ben Stokes was lbw right before he became England's match-winner.

Stokes made an unbeaten 135 and struck the winning runs as England chased down a record 359 in the third Test to claim a one-wicket victory and prevent Australia retaining the urn with two matches to spare.

The all-rounder was part of a last-wicket stand worth 76 with Jack Leach, but Australia were convinced that alliance had been broken when England still needed two runs to win as Stokes was wrapped on the pads by Nathan Lyon when attempting to slog-sweep.

With Lyon shrieking in appeal, Wilson remained unmoved, and Australia captain Paine was unable to call upon DRS having squandered his final review when he unsuccessfully challenged a not-out lbw decision against Leach in the previous over.

Had Australia reviewed the decision not to give Stokes out, umpire Wilson's call would have been reversed and Paine's side would have retained the urn.

Asked if he had seen that replay back, Paine said: "No, I saw it live. That's all I needed to see. I don't want to watch that again."

Wilson came under fire for his poor decision-making in the first Test at Headingley, yet Paine pointed to his own inability to make the correct calls rather than lay the blame at the umpire's door.

"I have no issue with that, we can't control that," Paine said of the umpiring.

"I don't think I've got a referral correct the whole series so I can't sit here and bag the umpires and we have got to focus on what we can control, and umpiring decisions isn't one of them.

"I'm sure it is something that will be written about, but we also had other opportunities to win the game and opportunities on other days with our batting and we didn't take them. So to sit down and single out an umpire is unnecessary, he is no different to everyone else - he is allowed to make mistakes."

However, Stokes was perplexed that the ball tracking even showed Lyon's delivery would have gone on to hit the stumps.

"I have seen the DRS on my lbw shout, which obviously shows up with three reds [for out], but DRS has got that completely wrong as it flicked my front pad first and didn't spin," Stokes argued.

"It shows how crucial it is to make sure you use your reviews. When you get to a situation like that, you still need one.

"If they had one they would have used it and ended up winning. I still cannot believe it was three reds. I thought as soon as it hit me that it was sliding down leg because there was no spin."

England and Australia served up another all-time Ashes classic at Headingley as the hosts somehow secured a one-wicket victory to level the series.

Joe Root's team had looked dead and buried, in both the contest and the series, when chasing a record 359 in the third Test.

Still needing another 73 when last man Jack Leach came to the crease, England pulled off a miracle thanks to Ben Stokes' unbeaten 135.

We take a look at other thrilling Ashes Tests after the humdinger at Headingley.

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting said Ben Stokes' remarkable innings was as good as anything he has seen in Test cricket, as England levelled the Ashes in sensational circumstances.

England were 286-9 in pursuit of 359 at Headingley and staring down the barrel of a 2-0 deficit that would have seen Australia retain the urn with two matches to spare.

But Stokes played one of the great Test innings and his unbeaten 135 steered England to the unlikeliest of one-wicket victories in front a pumped-up crowd on Sunday.

Ponting was effusive in his praise when assessing Stokes' performance on Sky Sports and stated the all-rounder did not get one decision wrong.

"I'm not sure I've seen anything better than that on a Test ground, to be honest," he said. 

"He scored two off 64 balls, but we always felt that if he was there then England were going to be in with a chance to win.

"Deep down he knew that as well. He wanted to be the man to be there at the end regardless of how long it took.

"Some of that hitting today - when it was 73 to win and nine down - he had to go there and then he pulled it off. That was brilliant.

"Decision-making plays such a big part in any innings that you play. He got every decision right today under extreme pressure - the way that he hit the boundaries and maintained the strike."

The fourth Test begins at Old Trafford on September 4, with the series now locked at 1-1.

Joe Root says Ben Stokes' heroics against Australia must act as a marker for his team-mates in the remainder of the Ashes.

England levelled the 2019 series at 1-1 with a dramatic one-wicket win at Headingley on Sunday that owed much to a masterful 135 not out from all-rounder Stokes.

Captain Root had helped set the platform for the victory with 77 but, when Jos Buttler was run out following a mix-up with Stokes, England's hopes of keeping the series alive looked slim.

Australia were on the brink of retaining the Ashes when Stuart Broad fell to James Pattinson but last man Jack Leach made a gritty one not out as Stokes went into one-day mode to see England to their target of 359.

Stokes was also the star when England lifted the Cricket World Cup earlier this year at Lord's and Root wants England to take inspiration from his latest contribution with two Tests still to play.

"We said at the start of the day we just had to believe," Root said at the post-match presentation. 

"We have witnessed some freakish things this summer during the World Cup and I didn't think we would see something so similar happen during the Ashes.

"It was an incredible game of cricket, an incredible atmosphere, Test cricket is alive and kicking, as is this Ashes series. It is fabulous to be able to stand here, be 1-1 all in this series and take all of this in.

"To try and sum up Stokes' innings in words is impossible. He has got previous and he has got that in the bank, he had to call upon all that but to stay as calm and collected as he did in the moment it took a great amount of skill, courage and belief in his own ability. It is a fabulous marker for everyone.

"I am still trying to get my head around everything, it was just amazing. When you are on the right end of these sorts of results it carries a lot of weight. Hopefully it can make a big difference.

"Ben deserves all the plaudits and adulation that he gets given."

England and Australia resume the series at Old Trafford for the penultimate Test of the series, with the action starting on September 4.

Ian Botham hailed Ben Stokes as England's "special one" after his century heroics at Headingley kept the home team alive in the Ashes.

In a performance that evoked memories of Botham's vintage 1981 innings in Leeds, Stokes tore into the Australian attack to transform a match that looked lost.

England's hopeless 67 all out in their first innings left them well off the pace, and when Australia set them 359 to pull off victory it looked highly likely to be out of reach.

When Stuart Broad was ninth man out on 286, England were still 73 short, but Stokes rose to the challenge.

An innings that was built on a foundation of early patience transformed into a Stokes big-hitting masterclass as he repeatedly heaved Australian bowlers to the boundary, his 135 not out including 11 fours and eight sixes.

"It takes a remarkable man," Botham said on Sky Sports. "I said this morning that somebody had to front up and somebody has to be strong.

"I've banged Ben Stokes' drum for a long time now and I know other players, when they've seen him, you think there's something special.

"He's the special one, he is very, very valuable to cricket full stop, not just England."

Botham expressed his fear about the future of Test cricket, given the rise of the limited-overs game, but he believes performances such as that of Stokes can draw much-needed attention to the five-day format.

"Today and maybe every so often you need something really special like that," Botham said. "What he did today, the whole country will be up for it now. You'll see kids playing in every park corner."

Former England opener Geoffrey Boycott said the "magical" innings was a highlight for him of a life watching cricket, calling it "the best I've seen in over 50 years".

Shane Warne, Australia's former superstar leg-spinner, said of Stokes: "He's one of those guys you want in the trenches with you.

"He's one of those guys who trains harder than I've ever seen anyone train.

"He's an amazing cricketer. He's a special talent. You can have all that but still when the opportunity presents itself you need someone to take it.

"If you were to choose one guy in that England side to try to get it done like that, you would choose Ben Stokes.

"But you still have to get it done. It's easy to say all that but to get it done the way he did was just unbelievable."

Jack Leach joked he was distracted by Ben Stokes not being able to watch him bat as England completed one of the great Ashes Test wins against Australia.

Stokes made a magnificent 135 not out as England triumphed by one wicket at Headingley on Sunday, levelling the series despite making just 67 in their first innings.

Leach played a vital supporting role despite making a single run as part of the 76 partnership that saw England home in front of a raucous Leeds crowd.

While Stokes thrashed Australia's bowlers around the park to rapidly reduce the runs needed, Leach was able to survive - despite his nervous partner being unable to watch.

"It put me off a little bit!" Leach told Sky Sports of Stokes looking away.

"He said he couldn't watch one ball and then when another was coming in I could see he couldn't watch again. I was like, 'have a bit of faith!'

"It's a big boost, it's 1-1 now with all to play for. We were desperate to win the game and somehow we pulled it off so it was very special.

"It was a very special feeling. Stokesy was unbelievable. It was like nothing I've ever seen before. And the crowd was insane.

"[Stokes] didn't really say a lot. When I first went in it was about him having most of the strike and being ready to run two. Then when I had to face a ball I had to break it down and get through one ball at a time."

Leach, who made 92 against Ireland in another comeback win for England in July, became a cult hero with his idiosyncratic approach.

The spinner regularly paused to wipe his glasses clean before taking strike, earning a standing ovation from the Headingley fans every time he survived an over.

"I know I look stupid out there but we got the job done," Leach said. "I'd take back that 92 for one not out here."

Tim Paine admitted Ben Stokes was "too good" for Australia after the all-rounder played one of the great Test innings to help England claim a remarkable win at Headingley that levelled the Ashes.

Australia needed just one more wicket on day four to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series and retain the urn with two matches to play.

But Stokes evoked memories of his heroics in last month's Cricket World Cup final with a scarcely believable 135 not out as England chased down 359 – their highest fourth-innings total in a Test win.

There were more than a few nervy scrapes along the way with Marcus Harris just failing to cling onto a catch when Stokes undercooked one and the England star was given not out when seemingly trapped lbw by Nathan Lyon with Australia out of reviews.

Australia skipper Paine conceded it was a tough defeat to take but played tribute to Stokes' knock and insisted his side can still get the job done in the remaining two Tests.

"It's hard to take, obviously, losing that from that position is difficult but you have got to tip your hat sometimes," Paine said at the post-match presentation after a day of high drama. 

"I thought Ben Stokes played an unbelievable innings and in the end it was too good for us. That's probably the best Test innings I've seen and the rest of the team thought the same thing.

"We thought we had enough runs. I thought our bowlers did a tremendous job [on Saturday] to get us in the position that we were. 

"We thought that if we continued that this morning we'd create enough chances to win the game. In the end we probably did but Joe Denly and Joe Root [who made a century stand on day three] were both excellent and kept them in the hunt.

"Overall I thought it was a terrific Test match. When Ben is at the crease you are always worried. 

"There are always probably things you could have done differently but cricket is a game of inches. But it's not the end of the world. 

"We are here to win the series and we've still got two opportunities to show what we're made of."

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