England hero Ben Stokes left speechless by his Headingley Ashes heroics
Ben Stokes was left struggling to take it all in after his incredible unbeaten 135 carried England to a most remarkable one-wicket victory over Australia to level the Ashes at 1-1.
England, bowled out for 67 in their first innings, were rocking at 286-9 but completed a record run chase of 359 thanks to Stokes’ heroics.
“Today was incredible,” Stokes said. “I don’t quite know what to say. It hasn’t sunk in yet.”
Stokes was already a hero for his role in England’s World Cup victory this summer.
“It’s one I’ll never forget,” he said on Sky Sports. “I’ve got to try and take it all in. I’m not sure it’ll ever happen again. It’s one of the two best feelings I’ve ever felt on a cricket pitch.”
Stokes’ innings included 11 fours and eight sixes as he picked the right moments to play defensively, and the right moments to attack.
He said: “I think when it got down to the 30s I was thinking, ‘rein it in a little’, but when it was in the 60s, 70s, 50s I had to really try and I sort of got in the zone.
“We had to win this game to stay in the Ashes and we managed to do it. We’ve got to move on now. We’ve managed to keep our hopes alive of doing the double and we can take a lot of momentum.
“It’s nice to get a break now and recharge the batteries and hopefully hit the ground running again in Manchester.”
England captain Joe Root, dismissed for 77 in the morning session, called Stokes’ display “outrageous”.
“We said at the start of the day, ‘we just have to believe’ and while two people are alive and breathing, we have a chance,” he said.
“We’ve seen some freakish things already this summer in the World Cup but I didn’t think we’d see something similar in this series.
“It was an incredible game of cricket, an incredible atmosphere and Test cricket is alive and kicking. This Ashes is alive and kicking.”
“That was just incredible. To try and sum that up in words is pretty much impossible. Outrageous batting.”