Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 19 September 2019

Ben Stokes' Ashes heroics: 5 key moments in the final hour from Nathan Lyon's fumble to Jack Leach's glasses

The final hour of play at Headingley had everything as England beat Australia by one wicket

It was an hour of cricket that will be hard to forget - even for the neutral.

Ben Stokes produced one of Test cricket's greatest innings as he led England to a one-wicket victory over Australia at Headingley.

The scorecard showed the perilous position he was in, with wickets falling all around him on the fourth day of the third Test. Had England lost, Australia would have retained the Ashes.

But beyond the numbers there was edge-of-your-seat drama in abundance during one of sport's most thrilling climaxes.

Here's five key moments from the remarkable ending to the Test:

1. Stokes starts clearing the ropes

He started in painstaking fashion, scoring just two runs off his first 50 balls, but as he was left with just No 11 Jack Leach Stokes was a man in a hurry. He struck eight sixes during the final 10 overs, including two off successive balls from Josh Hazlewood which followed a boundary. It was real heart-in-the-mouth stuff with Australian fielders circling underneath.

2. Australia foolishly use up their last review

Pat Cummins was bowling to Leach with England needing eight to win when he fired down a leg-stump yorker. The ball cannoned off Leach's pad and the Aussie players all appealed. Not out said the umpire, and to the naked eye, rightly so. Australia, more in desperation than hope, knowing that Stokes could end the match in two hits, appealed the decision. The replay showed it pitched way outside leg stump. A huge mistake, as Australia would soon find out.

3. Nathan Lyon drops the Ashes

Another Stokes six in the following over off Nathan Lyon took England even closer to victory. But there's more drama to be had. A mix-up as Stokes and Leach try to scamper a single. Stokes sent Leach back to the non-striker's end with Leach way short of making his ground as the ball was returned to Lyon standing next to the stumps. The Australia bowler dropped it and Leach made it back to safety. Shades of South Africa's Allan Donald and Lance Klusener in the 1999 World Cup against Australia.

Cricket - Ashes 2019 - Third Test - England v Australia - Headingley, Leeds, Britain - August 25, 2019 England's Ben Stokes and Jack Leach celebrate winning the test as Australia players look dejected Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
England's Ben Stokes and Jack Leach celebrate. Action Images via Reuters

4. Stokes is plumb lbw but given not out

And still the craziness continued. The next ball saw Stokes attempt a slog-sweep, which he missed, and is rapped on the pad right in front of the stumps. Umpire Joel Wilson shook his head - not out. Replays showed the stumps would have been splayed, but Australia had just wasted their last review in the previous over.

5. Put Jack Leach's glasses in the British Museum

While Stokes was setting off fireworks at one end, Leach was quietly going about his business at the other - repeatedly cleaning his glasses. The tailender was at the crease for an hour, contributing one run to the partnership of 76, though he did face 17 crucial balls.

But for England fans, the memory will be of him having to deal with the tricky task of sorting his eyewear out as the whole of England felt the heat of this epic battle.

Updated: August 25, 2019 10:11 PM

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