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."

Ben Stokes said his match-winning century at Headingley was "right up there" with his role in England's Cricket World Cup triumph.

England kept the Ashes alive with a thrilling one-wicket win over Australia in the third Test - Stokes the hero after a brilliant 135 not out.

He was also England's key man in the World Cup final against New Zealand on July 14, and six weeks on from that success he was the toast of the team again, with the hosts drawing level at 1-1 with two Tests to play.

Asked how it compared to the World Cup experience, all-rounder Stokes said on Sky Sports: "It's right up there. We had to win this game to stay in the Ashes and we've managed to do it.

"We've got to move on to the next game now. We've managed to keep our hopes alive of doing the double.

"We're going to take a lot of momentum. It's nice having a break to get away and recharge the batteries and hopefully hit the ground running again in Manchester [in the fourth Test, starting on September 4].

"It's unbelievable, one I'll never forget. I'll just have to take it all in because I'm not sure that'll ever happen again. That was one of the top two feelings I've ever had on a cricket field."

Stokes said the key to his innings was the mindset to "just never give up really ... it's not over until it's over".

When last man Jack Leach came to the crease at 286-9, England were 73 runs short of their target.

Leach made one not out, as Stokes blazed boundaries around the ground, including one astonishing reverse slog-sweep for six.

Stokes said: "When Leachy came in it was pretty clear what had to be done.

"Leachy's done it before – a super nightwatchman, ended up getting 92 [in the Lord's Test against Ireland] – so I backed him knowing what he had to do.

"I couldn't watch the balls going down. I was just waiting to see what happened and ... phew, man.

"When [the victory target] got down to the 20s, I started thinking I could probably rein it in a little bit, but when it was up in the 70s, 60s, 50s, I thought I had to really try and go. I was so in the zone of what I had to do."

Ben Stokes played an Ashes knock for the ages as England pulled off one of the greatest comebacks of all time in the third Test to level the series against Australia at 1-1. 

Marnus Labaschagne joked he is "getting pretty good at answering the questions" in concussion tests after taking another Jofra Archer bouncer to the head in the third Ashes Test.

Labaschagne became the first concussion substitute in the second match at Lord's when star Australia batsman Steve Smith was unable to continue following a blow from England ace Archer.

The stand-in was himself then struck by Archer but battled on to prove his worth in a hard-fought draw, earning a place in the team for the third match as Smith failed to recover in time.

Labaschagne improbably took another whack from the fast bowler early on Saturday in Leeds and received his second concussion test of the series, later acknowledging an increasing familiarity with the process.

"I'm getting pretty good at answering the questions," he told reporters. "I remember the questions from two days ago.

"You don't like getting in the head but it wakes you up. To be fair, today was a bit stiff.

"It came back a long way, I kept trying to sway and sway and ran out of room - my back's not that flexible. You just want to make sure you're watching the ball.

"It's a bit of a laugh now. He comes on and I say, 'Doc, I'm fine'. He knows now. If I do get hit properly, there will be a clear difference. The last two have been glancing blows."

Asked how the concussion tests go, Labaschagne continued in good humour as he reeled off examples of questions.

"'Who's the bowler at the other end?' 'Who's the last wicket?' 'How was he out?' Who you're playing against," he said. "You don't want to get that one wrong.

"You're only playing one team; if you get that wrong, you're probably getting marched off!"

Marnus Labuschagne hopes Australia can make England melt in the Headingley pressure cooker on Sunday as the tourists seek to retain the Ashes urn.

A third successive half-century from Labuschagne (80) had helped Australia post 246 on Saturday, setting England a mammoth target of 359 - one that seemed all-the-more daunting given they were rolled for 67 first time around.

But the hosts - seeking their highest successful run chase in Test history - reached stumps on day three 156-3 with captain Joe Root unbeaten on 75 having shared a crucial third-wicket stand of 126 with Joe Denly (50).

It sets up a mouth-watering fourth day as England dream of an unlikely success, yet Labuschagne hopes Australia's bowlers can make them crumble under pressure, particularly with a new ball due after a further eight overs.

"You always find that there's big partnerships but then there's one, two, three wickets," Labuschagne said.

"It can happen very quickly, so that's why you've just got to make sure you shut that scoreboard down, make sure you keep the pressure on, because when you lose one or two wickets all of a sudden the scoreboard can look a lot different if you add two wickets to it.

"That'll be what we're trying to do tomorrow, trying to make sure we're shutting down the scoreboard and making sure we're bowling balls in good areas with that new ball."

One week ago Labuschagne was on the periphery of this series but, thrust into the line-up in the second innings at Lord's last Sunday as Steve Smith's concussion replacement, the 25-year-old has quickly become a key cog for a team still shorn of their leading batsman.

While the techniques of England's batsmen has been criticised following a heavy white-ball schedule, Labuschagne has thrived in the longest format thanks to a productive spell in the County Championship with Glamorgan, for whom he amassed 1,114 runs in 10 first-class games.

"Playing for Glamorgan helped a lot," he admitted.

"Obviously playing 10 first-class games in probably less than two months was very helpful. Playing against the swinging ball in different conditions - and just learning my game and learning to put big runs on the board - definitely helped me and built my confidence as well.

"Then transitioning to this - I think I didn't play many other formats leading up to this. My focus was really on red-ball cricket, so the lead up and preparation was really good."

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