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The Top Five Ben Stokes Innings

135 vs Australia (2nd test, Ashes 2019, Leeds) 

Ben Stokes 135 vs Australia Ashes Leeds

Australia posted a target of 360 for England in the 2nd Test of the 2019 Ashes Series.

The English batsmen started well.

Ben Stokes strides in when England lost 3 for 140 runs and took his time. He was very defensive to save the day. He took 50 balls to make two runs, and the innings reminded everyone of the ABD’s innings against India scoring 43 (293).

The morning of Day-4 started with a mighty blow on Ben Stokes’ helmet when Hazlewood bowled a sharp bouncer and Stokes completely missed to pull it. A warm welcome for Stokes for the day. 

When Nathan Lyon came in, a tossed up ball from the off-spinner urged Stokes to step down and flick it to the mid-wicket for four. How many times would you see a left-handed batsman flicking an off-spinner? It’s sporadic. And that’s why Ben Stokes is exceptional. 

Ben Stokes went on to smash the Cummins’ short ball with a punch, the ball went over gully fielder and reached the fence. Top edged but it was the first sign of aggression from Ben Stokes in that innings. 

Pat Cummins from over the wicket tried a bouncer which became a juicy ball for Ben Stokes’ pull, and it sailed over the square-leg rope. 

Wickets started falling off on the other end. Especially the loss of Bairstow added more pressure on Ben Stokes. The keeper-batsman was playing exceptionally well on that day. In addition to that Ben Stokes’ wrong call victimised Jos Buttler with a runout. 

Stokes was left with the bowlers to bat on. The Durham all-rounder, like always, decided to continue his fight till the end. Chris Woakes went back with getting caught at catching covers. Jofra Archer got dismissed when he tried to sweep over the deep square leg. Stuart Broad lost his wicket for a toe crusher from James Pattinson. 

Stokes was left with 72 runs to complete it for his side, and the batsman on the other end was Jack Leach, the last wicket of England.  

The real tension started then. Ben Stokes decided to give it a try and took the lead against Nathan Lyon.

  • The off-spinners’ tossed up fuller length delivery let Ben Stokes hit it downtown. The long off fielder wasn’t able to have his hand on the ball.
  • Another looped up delivery was put straight to the side screen.
  • Lyon decided to bowl on the offside, Stokes surprised everyone with his switch hit that sends the ball over the sweeper cover. It was all entertainment at Leeds. 

The English fans started to feel the vibe from the way Ben Stokes was batting. Stokesy continued his aggressive technique. A scoop took the good length ball from Cummins over the fine-leg region. This innings was turning out to be the most significant knock that test cricket has ever seen. 

Lead over Hazlewood

Hazlewood came in to stop Ben Stokes. 

  • The first ball was smashed through wide long-off. Bit of misfielding. Ben Stokes reached his century in 198 balls. Stokes wasn’t in the mood to celebrate it.
  • Then comes the Stokes Sweep, which also seemed like a scoop off the low full toss delivery. It sailed over the square leg fielder.
  • Then comes the just short ball, Ben Stokes bends down to get the blade under the ball. It wasn’t a clean hit, but it was muscled enough to reach over the fence at the mid-wicket region. 
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The English fans were roaring with excitement. 

Hapless Pat Cummins 

  • The swing of the bat sent the ball over long-on, top-edged and went straight to the Third Man. Marcus Harris dropped it with a severe diving effort. The Australians couldn’t believe that Ben had been dropped at a time like that.
  • Then comes the boundary and it was at the favourite spot of Ben Stokes, the gap between square leg and midwicket. Ben Stokes stepped down and slapped the ball with full power.
  • The next boundary was a punch off a shorter delivery straight down the ground. 

Nathan Lyon’s missed opportunity

  • Without giving a second thought, Ben Stokes went on to hit the tossed up delivery of Lyon towards the long-off. And the Kookaburra sailed just over the fielder and paved six runs.
  • The reverse sweep came into play, straight to the short Third Man but Jack Leach was miles away from the crease. It would have been Australia’s game if Nathan Lyon collected the throw. Missed run out !
  • The very next ball Lyin came up with his best delivery, Stokes missed the ball while sweeping and the ball hit the pad. Huge appeal from the Australians but the umpire wasn’t convinced.
  • Poor Australians left with no DRS review, and it was clearly a wicket if they had gone upstairs. 

Poetic Jack Leach

  • Jack Leach was on strike; he jabs the short ball bowled to his ribs near the short leg fielder placed near him and went on to run a single. Would you believe this was the only run scored by Leach and it came out to level the scores of Australia?
  • Ben Stokes finished off with a magnificent punch over the extra cover region, and the ball raised to the boundary. It was a win for England.

The whole English people got stunned with what Ben Stokes did with his bat. The English all-rounder was celebrating with a roar while he made the Ashes alive for the English team. 

Conclusion

What we have witnessed from Ben Stokes was absolute bravery with pure skill. This is rare. You cannot pinpoint match-winners who can do it regularly. Of course, we have seen MSD and Virat, but this English Player is different from the other two. 

  • Ben Stokes was the one who was thrown out of England lions team as he wasn’t good enough to tackle Australians back in 2013.
  • The English all-rounder was the one who was smashed for four sixes by Carlos Brathwaite in the last over to win the T20 world cup 2016.
  • Stokesy was the one who was prevented from going on Ashes tour 2017-18 because of his ban. 

Look what he has produced after all those failures. Undoubtedly, the most celebrated English Player of this generation. Look out for this lad; he will be winning many number of matches for England in the future. Definitely, the future of English cricket. 

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