James Anderson continued his comeback from the calf injury he reaggravated in the first Ashes Test as he bowled for Lancashire's second XI on Tuesday.

Having been limited to just four overs at Edgbaston, Anderson has missed the last two matches of the Ashes, but seems fit enough to return - if selected - for England at Lancashire's home ground Old Trafford in the fourth Test, which begins next Wednesday.

With the series tied at 1-1 following Ben Stokes' heroics at Headingley, Australia are likely to welcome talisman Steve Smith back from his concussion-enforced absence, meaning news of Anderson's fitness will provide another timely boost for Joe Root's side.

The 37-year-old bowled 20 overs in total for the second XI, taking 1-38 and claiming nine maidens on day one of a four-day match against Durham's second XI.

Jofra Archer has impressed for England in Anderson's absence, taking 13 wickets in two matches, and Chris Woakes would seem the most likely to drop out of the hosts' bowling attack should Anderson return at Old Trafford. 

Pat Cummins was impressed with Tim Paine's response to Australia's difficult defeat in the third Ashes Test and is confident they can bounce back.

Australia looked to have wrapped up the match at Headingley and retained the urn on Sunday, only for Ben Stokes to produce an incredible unbeaten 135 to hand England victory by a single wicket.

There were numerous errors from the tourists in the closing stages, most notably the decision from captain Paine to waste a review against Jack Leach shortly before Stokes appeared to be trapped in front and umpire Joel Wilson gave not out.

But while Paine has come in for criticism, star bowler Cummins saw his skipper respond in a positive way as Australia prepare to take the fight to Old Trafford.

"Painey's been brilliant," Cummins said. "He walked straight into the changing room and said, 'It's 1-1, it's all good. Two more matches to go.'

"Bowlers, him as a captain, everyone makes decisions and you reflect after the game on what you could have done differently.

"But when you look at it, a couple of catches, maybe a missed run out... When a batsman comes out and scores 100-odd like that, hitting sixes off an off-spinner out of the rough so cleanly, you've just got to say, 'Well done.'

"Someone's had a day out. We'll be alright."

Cummins felt Australia dealt well with a topsy-turvy Test, adding: "I was really proud of how everyone stayed quite level.

"When we bowled them out for 67 or when they got a partnership, we were quite even. It's the sign of a pretty confident squad."

He repeated that, ultimately, the defeat was more due to Stokes' brilliance than anything Australia did wrong.

"We're obviously disappointed," Cummins said. "It's not too often you get in that position and someone takes the game away from you like Ben Stokes did.

"We had a few chances, but it was one of the all-time great innings. There were a few things we could have done differently but, on the whole, he just played one of those innings that's hard to stop."

Sir Ian Botham is ready to school Ben Stokes in how his life will change following the Ashes after describing the England all-rounder as "public property".

Stokes' remarkable match-winning knock of 135 not out at Headingley prompted comparisons to Botham's own efforts in 1981 that cemented him as a superstar.

Botham, the chairman at Durham, where Stokes plays his county cricket, knows the pressure the 28-year-old faces after also delivering in incredible fashion in July's Cricket World Cup final.

But England great Botham is confident Stokes will know he can dish out further pain to Australia in this series after recovering from the epic third Test in Leeds.

The 63-year-old borrowed an Australian phrase by saying Stokes "has got wood" on the tourists ahead of the fourth match at Old Trafford, meaning he has the competitive upper hand.

"He is 'the Special One' and I intend to call him that for the rest of his career," Botham told the Telegraph, repeating a moniker he used on Sky Sports on Sunday.

"He wants to be the best. He wants to be in the oven. He wants to be in the hottest place in the kitchen and he wants to take them all on. That is his character.

"It changed my life overnight. I think Ben's life will be the same. He will have no private life. He has to get used to that and so do the family. He is public property but it is a great place to be in for the long term."

Botham added: "I will take him out for dinner and have a bottle of wine and discuss it if he wants to. I think he is the kind of character who wants to improve on everything he does.

"He will wake up - it might take 48 hours to sink in - and he will think, 'I can do it, and I will do it again'.

"He has got them. He has got wood on Australia and, I tell you, there is no better feeling as an England cricketer."

Ben Stokes has climbed to a career-high second in the ICC's Test all-rounder rankings after his sensational display for England in the third Ashes Test at Headingley.

England superstar Stokes made an unbeaten 135 and carried the hosts to a scarcely believable one-wicket win over Australia to level the series at 1-1 after three matches.

The Durham man's reward was his highest ranking of second in the all-rounders' chart behind Jason Holder on Tuesday.

Stokes was also on the move in the batting standings, surging up to another career best of 13th.

Other Ashes stars on the rise included Jofra Archer catapulting up to 43 in the bowling rankings after just his second Test appearance.

Joe Root climbed to number seven among batsmen, where Steve Smith still trails Virat Kohli at the top of the standings. Pat Cummins remains the best bowler.

Test action elsewhere saw some more big movers. Tom Latham was up five to eighth in the batting rankings after a stunning 154 led New Zealand to an innings-and-65-run thrashing of Sri Lanka in the second Test in Colombo, while Jasprit Bumrah returned second-innings figures of 5-7 in India's 318-run win over West Indies in Antigua to jump nine places to seventh among bowlers.

Steve Harmison says England's Headingley hero Ben Stokes can be compared to Andrew Flintoff as he has "the biggest heart going".

But Harmison claims his former Durham team-mate has gone one step further than Flintoff following his brilliant Leeds century.

Stokes wrote his name into the history books with an epic knock in the third Ashes Test as England defeated Australia by a single wicket.

The England all-rounder made 135 not out to carry the hosts across the line and level the series, making 74 of his runs in an incredible 10th-wicket partnership of 76 with Jack Leach.

Stokes was immediately compared to past Ashes greats, including Flintoff, a key member of the 2005 winning side.

But Harmison, who played with both, suggests Stokes' almost single-handed efforts mean his innings must rank above anything produced by Flintoff or others.

"Ben reminds me of Freddie so much because the strongest characteristic they have is they have the biggest heart going," Harmison told the Telegraph.

He added: "But whereas Freddie was the jewel in the crown of a very good team, Ben has just single-handedly saved an Ashes series for England.

"Freddie balanced the books in 2005, he gave us a middle order that could take the game away from the opposition and he gave us something extra with the ball. But without Ben, the Ashes were gone, the urn was staying in Australia.

"What Ben did on Sunday I don't think will ever be beaten. Nobody in their right mind was backing England to win after they were bowled out for 67.

"They were beaten, but now they are in a position to win the Ashes. Ben did that. His team-mates need to win it for him now.

"I've never seen an innings like that from anyone, ever. I look at what Kevin Pietersen did in 2005 at The Oval, that got us over the line in the final game of an Ashes series, but what Ben did, you won't see anything like that again."

Ben Stokes revealed he and a group of fellow England stars celebrated their third Ashes Test victory with a £55 McDonald's order.

And man-of-the-moment Stokes insisted he is not worried by how his history-making displays might change his life.

Just weeks on from a heroic shift in the Cricket World Cup final as hosts England claimed their first title, Stokes was at it again against Australia at Headingley to keep his country's Ashes hopes alive.

A remarkable unbeaten 135, including 74 in a decisive 10th-wicket stand of 76 with Jack Leach, saw Stokes inspire England to a one-wicket win to level the series on Sunday.

The all-rounder's efforts made headlines around the world, yet his celebrations appeared less grand, joining captain Joe Root and three other team-mates and heading to a Leeds fast-food joint.

He had earlier revealed his Saturday night diet had included a "knock-off" Nando's - suggesting a spicy chicken takeaway - and chocolate bars.

"We celebrated at the ground as a team before we went back to the team hotel to catch up with friends and family," Stokes told the Mirror.

"Me, Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Rory Burns and Joe Root all jumped in an Uber and got £55 worth of McDonald's drive thru on the way.

"There were quarter pounders and filet 'o' fish flying everywhere."

The down-to-earth celebration was perhaps evidence of how Stokes will not change for his sensational performances and hero status, and he added: "It was a special day in a special summer at Headingley, but it is far from over.

"I'm ready for the last couple of laps at Old Trafford and then the Oval. I'm not interested in how my life might change or anything like that just yet because there is still more to be done.

"There are two more Tests to come and we want to win those Ashes back so let's wait and see how the summer ends before we start talking about things like that."

Nineteen from the over, the ball soaring into the crowd. Ben Stokes had seen this story before from the other side.

West Indies needed 19 as England's premier all-rounder stood at the end of his mark to conclude the 2016 World T20 final. Six, six, six and another six from Carlos Brathwaite later and expectations of glory were in tatters.

A more successful final outing under his belt, Stokes was the man dishing out punishment to the previously imperious Josh Hazlewood at Headingley on Sunday, orchestrating a mind-boggling chase of 359 and a one-wicket win that will forever have its place in cricket history.

Decades from now the highlights packages of those audacious exploits will be pored over time and again, but it is interesting to consider how this Test era – apparently Stokes' world with the rest of us merely living in it – might be viewed overall.

Because this most grand and elegant of team sports has never seemed so unhinged.

Kusal the Durban destroyer

At the start of last month, only six times in the previous century had a team won a Test having been dismissed for under 100 in their first innings. England have since done it twice.

Stokes' unbeaten 135 has understandably been described as a once-in-a-lifetime innings, but Kusal Perera did something remarkably similar in February.

Needing 304 to beat South Africa, Kusal was joined by last man Vishwa Fernando with the score 226-9. The Jack Leach of the piece, Fernando was relatively prolific in compiling six not out.

Meanwhile Kusal bludgeoned his way to an unbeaten 153, with 12 fours and five sixes. It secured a one-wicket win from beyond the wildest dreams or nightmares of those involved.

There is not a more daunting pace trio to successfully take to the cleaners in world cricket than Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and James Pattinson, as Stokes and his broken helmet will attest. The combination of Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada and Duanne Olivier that Kusal faced down comes pretty close.

Like Stokes, Kusal is a white-ball destroyer. He boasts five ODI centuries and 10 T20I fifties. On Monday, he bagged a second straight duck as Sri Lanka were walloped by an innings and 65 runs in Colombo. New Zealand's masterful seam duo of Trent Boult and Tim Southee were seldom manoeuvred far from the cut strip.

The hosts' 122 all out demonstrated little of the skill or inclination needed to save a draw with rain around. It had far more in common with England's 67 all out at Headingley on Friday, where Stokes - a picture of dedication and self-denial until his prolonged pyrotechnics in the second innings - played the most abysmal shot of them all.

This is the boom and bust of modern Test cricket. Two sides of the same golden coin.

Twenty20 vision

Once a cash cow and now the untamed money monster, T20 and its global franchise leagues increasingly set the sport's direction of travel.

The international schedule has been tailored accordingly, often in vain, to keep the biggest stars in their country's colours. Preparation, tour matches and the repetition required for mastery when facing the red ball and first-class cricket's particular challenges are all lacking.

It means the likes of Hazlewood and Cummins or Boult and Southee can approach most top orders with glee if conditions offer them anything. Technique and temperament are always likely to be in the bowler's favour.

The other side of this is batsmen think all things can be achieved at all times. Stokes' Leeds barrage has been mentioned alongside the best knocks from greats such as Brian Lara and VVS Laxman. But none of those hallowed names could have called upon the thumping, ramping and reverse-slogging solutions he had to hand.

Stokes, Kusal and their ilk have honed these skills in pressure situations around the world. They know they can pull it off under suffocating pressure.

In what must be a grim realisation, the bowlers know it too. Stokes knew it as Brathwaite made merry. The best riposte can come from mystery spin or extreme pace. See Jofra Archer, another stalwart of cricket's new age making an indelible mark upon its oldest contest.

As schedules become ever more contorted and stretched, with first-class competitions neglected and shunted to the margins, there will be a reckoning for Test cricket that might not be pretty.

In the meantime, we at least get to enjoy this glorious, baffling hybrid of infinite possibility. Cricket featuring all you ever knew producing results you never considered for a moment. What a time to be alive in Ben Stokes' world.

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."

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