Sensational Stokes stars as England beat Australia by one wicket to win third Test

Ben Stokes and Jack Leach celebrate winning the test against Australia after Stokes's sensational innings. (Action Images via Reuters)
Updated 25 August 2019
0

Sensational Stokes stars as England beat Australia by one wicket to win third Test

  • Stokes’s astonishing 135 not out saw England complete their highest successful fourth innings chase as they squared the series at 1-1
  • Australia missed a clear chance to run Leach out when Nathan Lyon failed to gather a throw

LEEDS: Ben Stokes was the hero yet again as his incredible unbeaten century saw England to a thrilling one-wicket win in the third Ashes Test at Headingley on Sunday.
England — all out for a woeful 67 in their first innings — were 286-9, still needing 73 more runs to reach a victory target of 359 when bespectacled No 11 Jack Leach walked out to bat to join Stokes at the crease.
Leach, however, held firm with World Cup final winning batting star Stokes’s astonishing 135 not out seeing England complete their highest successful fourth innings chase as they squared the five-match series at 1-1.

“There’s nothing like being out there in the end and getting your team over the line. I didn’t get nervous till we needed single figures, I didn’t know what to do then,” admitted Stokes.
Australia, who would have retained the Ashes had they won, missed a clear chance to run Leach out when Nathan Lyon failed to gather a throw and then paid dearly for squandering a review.
All-rounder Stokes eventually flayed fast bowler Pat Cummins for four to seal a famous victory arguably even more improbable than England’s celebrated 1981 Ashes Test success at Headingley when they won after following-on.
This was only the fourth time a team had made more than 300 to win in the fourth innings of a Test at Headingley.
“It was a very special feeling. Stokesy was unbelievable. It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. And the crowd was insane,” admitted Leach.
Australia captain Tim Paine said: “It’s hard to take, losing that from that position but you tip your hat sometimes.
“Ben Stokes played an unbelievable innings and in the end he was too good for us.”
As Leach looked on, all-rounder Stokes went into one-day mode by driving off-spinner Lyon for two straight sixes and then produced a stunning reverse against him that sailed high over deep point.
Stokes’s extravagant scooped six off Cummins reduced the target to 40.
Despite Australia captain Tim Paine having scattered all his fielders to the boundary, Stokes pulled Josh Hazlewood for four to complete a remarkable 199 ball-century — his second in a row after his 115 not out in the drawn second Test at Lord’s — featuring eight fours and five sixes.
Stokes then hoisted the next two balls for six.
He rode his luck when a sliced two off Cummins was dropped by a diving Marcus Harris at third man.
Stokes, however, commandingly pulled and drove Cummins’s next two balls for for four to leave England just nine runs shy of victory.

 

But a single left Leach on strike with two balls left in the over.
The first of those sailed over Leach’s head and the next saw Australia waste a review for a ball that pitched outside leg stump.
England now needed eight — or two boundaries — as Stokes faced Leach.
The third ball of the over saw Stokes drive Lyon for a six that just cleared Marnus Labuschagne at long-on and England needed two to win.
A colossal mix-up between Stokes and Leach should have seen the No 11 run out but Lyon fumbled the return.
Lyon then had an lbw appeal against Stokes turned down by umpire Joel Wilson only for replays to suggest it would have been out.
But Australia had used up all their reviews.
England still needed two to win but Leach, who made a career best 92 as nightwatchman in a recent Test win over Ireland, was on strike to Cummins.
Leach though managed a single that tied the scores as he got off the mark after 59 minutes at the crease.
And Stokes then cut Cummins for a boundary to seal an astounding triumph.
The left-handed batsman faced 219 balls in total, with 11 fours and eight sixes in a superbly paced five-and-a-half hour inninngs.
It seemed England’s chances had evaporated when they lost three wickets for just 16 runs after lunch to be reeling at 261-7.
England had yet to add to their overnight score of 156-3 when Stokes missed a pull off a Hazlewood bouncer that smashed into his helmet, with the stem guard protecting his neck flying off at the back.
But he was cleared to bat on and when captain Joe Root was out for 77 after adding just two to his overnight score Stokes, ably assisted by Jonny Bairstow (36) counter-attacked, with England scoring 60 runs in eight overs after Australia took the new ball.
 


Di Maria scores 2 as PSG beats Madrid in Champions League

Updated 19 September 2019

Di Maria scores 2 as PSG beats Madrid in Champions League

  • Di Maria doubled the advantage when he struck again in the 33rd minute, found this time by Gueye

PARIS: No Neymar. No Kylian Mbappe. No problem.
With two first-half goals from Angel Di Maria and a rare late strike from right-back Thomas Meunier, a new-look Paris Saint-Germain missing its headline stars brushed aside a flat Real Madrid 3-0 in the Champions League to go top of Group A in an impressive start to its European campaign on Wednesday. 
Di Maria, a Champions League winner with Madrid in 2014, was rampant against his former club, using phenomenal speed and clever placing to torment a Madrid defense sorely missing the suspended Sergio Ramos.
The Argentine's first goal poked past Thibaut Courtois' near post in the 14th minute was his 25th in 100 European matches.
Some of PSG's new recruits were instrumental in the victory. Idrissa Gueye, bought from Everton, bossed the midfield.
Di Maria's opener originated with Mauro Icardi, a late loan-signing from Inter Milan. He linked up smartly with left-back Juan Bernat, who then found Di Maria in space in the box with a swift cut-back pass.
Di Maria doubled the advantage when he struck again in the 33rd minute, found this time by Gueye.
Di Maria caressed a pinpoint shot with his left foot from long range past the outstretched Courtois and celebrated enthusiastically as Paris fans lit red flares.
Gareth Bale thought he'd got a goal back moments later with a sweet volley over former Madrid teammate Keylor Navas, bought by Paris to provide added assurance behind the suffocating PSG defense that snuffed out Madrid at the Parc des Princes.
But referee Anthony Taylor spotted on video replay that the Wales winger had touched the ball with his right arm as he juggled it from his left foot to his right one before shooting.
Meunier's goal in second-half injury time was only his sixth in 48 European matches. Bernat's pass set up the strike. Up in the posh seats, the suspended Neymar and Mbappe, recovering from injury, chuckled together at the sight of the full-backs combining to score. Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane scowled.
Zidane lamented the lack of urgency from his side that had zero shots on target other than Bale's disallowed goal and another disallowed for offside in the second half.
"It was a weird sensation," he said, speaking through a translator. "We hardly ever got into the match."
Zidane refrained from singling out any player, saying "it's everybody's fault when we lose."
But James Rodriguez, back from Bayern Munich, was particularly ineffective. And Eden Hazard, bought from Chelsea, looked ring-rusty as he makes his way back from injury. A trademark dribble in the PSG area in the second half ended with Hazard tripping over himself and landing on his backside.
Zidane replaced them both with 20 minutes to play.
PSG coach Thomas Tuchel, on the other hand, had no problem singling out Gueye for praise. He clicked with Marco Verratti and the deeper-lying Marquinhos in the PSG midfield that purred as if they'd played together for years.
"He's a machine. He never stops, never stops running," Tuchel said. "Against a team like Madrid, that is super-important."
Tuchel suggested the absence of Neymar, Mbappe and PSG's record scorer Edinson Cavani, also recovering from injury, may have been a help rather than a hindrance.
Without them, outside observers figured PSG was unlikely to win, and that eased pressure on Tuchel's other players, the coach said.
When Neymar has served out the rest of his two-match ban, and Mbappe and Cavani are fit again, expectations will quickly rise in the wake of this humbling of Madrid that showed the strength in depth of PSG's expensively assembled team.
But PSG knows from bitter experience how hard the road will become in the Champions League, having failed to get beyond the quarterfinals since the club's wealthy Qatari owners took over in 2011.
Tuchel was eager to tamp down any buzz.
"If someone asks me if we are going to win the Champions League, I'm leaving," he said.