Mark Wood and Chris Woakes’s cameo partnership of 24 after Harry Brook’s swashbuckling 75 secures a three-wicket win over Australia at Headingley, to keep their hopes of an Ashes Series victory alive.
England began Day 4 27-0, chasing a target of 251 to win, Ben Duckett and Zak Crawley, did extremely well to see off a tricky little session with the new ball before stumps on Day 3.
But their partnership only lasted another 15 runs, as Duckett was struck in front LBW for 23 by Mitchell Starc, at 42-1.
The Notts Outlaws Left-Hander’s decision to review was in vain, as Hawke-Eye revealed that the ball was crashing into the leg stump. Duckett survived an earlier shout for LBW, but this one was absolutely plumb.
With the Harry Brook experiment at number three not working, England made another surprising call to send Moeen Ali up the order. But the experiment did not work as Starc castled the elegant left-hander for just five, at 60-2.Embed from Getty Images
Number three is starting to become an issue for England, as Joe Root, who has the best technique of England’s batsmen is still reluctant to bat in that position. Sending Brook, who is more suited in the middle order was a gamble, which obviously did not pay off, so why send another attacking batsman who doesn’t have a solid technique, for facing swing bowling?
Wonder who will walk in at three at Old Trafford?
With England teetering, the onus was on Crawley and Root to steady the ship in the middle. The Kent opener looked like his free-flowing self.Embed from Getty Images
But while driving on the up is his strength, it can also be a weakness, especially when he knicked a big expansive drive off to keeper Alex Carey for 44, at 93-3.
It seemed like number five was Brook’s much-preferred position, as runs started to flow off the Yorkshireman’s bat.
And it looked as if his partnership of 38 with the former England Captain, looked to be getting the hosts back on track with the chase.Embed from Getty Images
But at 131-3, it became 131-4 as Root’s attempted pull shot off Pat Cummins got a glove to Alex Carey at 134-4.Embed from Getty Images
Stokes and Brook carried on the charge toward victory.Embed from Getty Images
Before the England Captain got a fine edge through to Carey at 161-5.
Johnny Bairstow was the next man to go for five, as he chopped a wide delivery from Starc onto his stumps at 171-5.Embed from Getty Images
It was at this stage that some people thought that 251 was a bridge too far for England.
But Woakes put on a stand over 61 with Brook to get England within touching distance of Australia’s target.
Brook also brought up his fifth Test 50.Embed from Getty Images
But winning an Ashes Test Match isn’t always easy, as Brook was dismissed for 75, at 230-7, with England still needing a further 21 runs for victory.Embed from Getty Images
But Wood’s cameo of 16 from 8, and Woakes’s 32 off 47, ensured that England was back in the Ashes Series.
What a thrilling finish to an extraordinary Test Match.
Post Match Reaction
“Headingley, day four yet again,””It’s some place to play cricket. “I don’t know what it is about the place but it seems to bring out great games and unforgettable moments for the fans who come and watch.”Ben Stokes: BBC Sport
“Delighted to be here as Man Of the Match. A great win for us and it keeps the Series alive. It was not good in that dressing room I’m sure rthe lads will tell you. Sweaty palms all the way, but it’s a lot easier when you’re out in the middle.”Mark Wood: Man Of The Match: Sky Sports
So England bounce back with a thrilling win at Headingley, can they make it 2-2 at Old Trafford?
Find out on World in Sport.