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I didn't think the 1981 Botham Ashes test at Leeds could be surpassed...........

TheLocalYokel

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...........but I think it has been today.

1981 Leeds - England following on bowled out Australia for 111 in their second innings to win by 18 runs thanks to a super-human century from Ian Botham, with Bob Willis doing the damage with the ball.

2019 Leeds - England bowled out for one of their lowest ever totals in the first innings go on to win the match by one wicket, scoring the highest ever winning total in the fourth innings in their test match history thanks to a super-human century from Ben stokes to complement his outstanding bowling performance in Australia's second innings.

Like many cricket followers I despaired of England after their first innings debacle and felt that the abundance of one-day cricket has dented test players' ability to play the longer game. To an extent this remains the case, especially with batsmen, as too many of them failed again in England's second innings.

However, about once in a generation a colossus emerges to whom normal rules don't apply: Botham, Flintoff, Stokes. They can turn a test match with either their bowling or batting, sometimes both.

The incredible performance of Ben Stokes today defies explanation, even if it does paper over some the cracks in the England team that still exist. His performance - mental, physical and skilful - will be talked about in cricket circles for generations to come. There is no other current England player who could get anywhere near his innings today, and that after arguably being over-bowled in Australia's second innings.

I didn't bother to follow the match today as I was convinced that England had no chance. I returned home at tea time to the entirely welcome but completely unexpected news. I've just watched the Channel 5 highlights and even then I didn't expect England to win after they lost their ninth wicket, even though I knew they had. Did anyone, except perhaps Stokes?

A word too for Jack Leach. His application was admirable and, as Boycott said in commentary, he showed some of the England top order batsmen how to use 'soft hands'. We in Somerset know his ability as a spin bowler, and he's not the worst tail end County Championship batsman as he showed today and in the test against Ireland when he made 92 as 'night watchman'. Had he been playing for a more fashionable county his England debut would have been that much sooner.

England - as a team I castigated you over the weekend to anyone who would listen. Today I gladly congratulate you, as you stand or fall as a team. One man though deserves far more and a bald-headed, bespectacled West Countryman from Taunton also merits a mention.

Yet again test cricket leaves the one-day variety in the shade with games like this.
 

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David_itl

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I too didn't watch it! Went to Quarry Bank Mill but kept checking in but it was only coming back for a final update that i saw we had won! Looking at the stats, when England lost the 9th wicket, 115.2 overs had been bowled. Leach batted for an hour but only 10.2 overs were bowled. I wonder how close the Australians were for being fined for a slow over rate.

Listening to the interviews, it seems the plan was to leave Leach with only 1 ball to face every over but the reality is that he had to defend nearly 2 balls.Funmy how he ranks today's innings above the 92. If anything, he should be batting ahead of Broad for certain and perhaps maybe above Woakes?

Statistics, although important for giving an impression of how good a player is, do not ultimately convey the influence a player can have in transforming a game. Stokes, Botham and Flintof have virtually the same bowling average and all score at around 60 runs per 100 balls but only average in the low 30s, I just wonder what Stokes' career figures will look like when he retires; I do hope the public won't expect miracles to happen every time he takes the field.
 

Kevin Farnell

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I've just finished watching the Channel 5 highlights, that I had recorded. Although I already new that England had won by one wicket, my head is still spinning from what I have just witnessed. Ben Stokes was on fire! The atmosphere in Headingley was incredible. Anyone present will remember that day for the rest of their lives. Also, the noise of the crowd must have given Stokes and Leach more energy and determination.
I agree that Leach played an excellent innings, remaining calm and cool headed. Something that England's higher order batsmen could learn a thing or two from. I heard it refered to as 'the greatest 1 not out ever'.
For Australians, it probably doesn't look so good but any cricket fan will know that something really special occured at Headingley on Sun 25 Aug 2019.

Kevin
 

rollo

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I did watch most of the play and the build up of tension was palpable as the game went on. You could see the Australians confidence wilt before your eyes as they lost their way and towards the finish every forward defensive shot by Jack Leach received as big a cheer as a Stokes six.

Leach is a proper experienced county pro who knows his game.

So far as Ben Stokes we are now very much into the never ending topic of "the new Botham" which in my opinion no one has managed up to yet although Flintoff came close.Stokes has all the weapons at his disposal to match or even exceed Botham his big challenge now in this respect is to turn yesterday's fantastic match winning performance into a series winning one and then repeat like Botham did a few years after the first miracle of Headingly and do it again down under. As I've said Stokes has all the weapons and like Botham can bat, bowl, is a frst rate slip fielder and again like Botham can inspire the team, the crowd and indeed the country.

So far as yesterday's game v 1981 which was the better Botham supported by Dilly and then Willis with eight wickets to skittle the aussies or yesterday's thrilling perfomance by Stokes supported at the finish by the unlikely Leach.

I'll let you know when I've made my mind up it could be a while however test cricket will never die while days like yesterday happen a privilege to have watched it.
 

TheLocalYokel

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It's a funny thing but at the time it's difficult to actually enjoy watching games like this because the tension and uncertainty is so palpable. In some ways I'm glad I was out all afternoon yesterday and oblivious to the events that were unfolding as I'm not sure I could have listened or watched for long anyway. I would have been walking around the garden looking for non-existent jobs to do, and popping back inside every ten minutes or so to see the latest score, always expecting the game to have finished with the Australians victorious.

I do remember watching live on tv Australia skittled for 111 in the 'Botham test' of 1981 and expecting some Australian batsman to take the game by the scruff of the neck at any time. That's what comes from following sides like the England football and cricket teams, Bristol City FC and Somerset CCC for most of your life. Always expect the worst and you are invariably shown to be correct, but hope that occasionally the worm turns as it did yesterday. Success is all the sweeter after near constant failure.

I think Stokes said that at times he couldn't watch when Leach was taking strike, not I believe because he lacked faith in his partner but because of the pressure he himself was feeling; as with some football managers who turn their back when their team is taking a penalty kick at a vital time in a match as they can't bear to look.
 

Ray Finkle

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I missed it as we were on our return journey but I definitely wasn't the only one with eyes glued to a phone whilst waiting at the baggage belt with the score constantly being refreshed.

I managed to catch some of the highlights yesterday even though, it looked at cracking game.
 

lbaspotter

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I was there for days 3 & 4 at the England vs Australia 3rd Ashes Test match at Headingley.

I'm a Yorkshire Member and have seen Yorkshire CCC do some amazing things in that ground over the years. The one that had stuck in my mind for a very long time was watching Tim Bresnan take 6-19 against Lancashire to win our home T/20 game back in 2017.

But that has now been toppled by Ben Stokes actions in the "Miracle of Headingley 2019". I'll never forget what both him and Jack Leach did when game was all but over for England. Stokes single handily took on the Aussies to win that game by doing some amazing batting.
To have witnessed it first hand I can only tell you that it was something different, the atmosphere coming from the England fans in that ground was electrifying, When it got down to under 30 to win you just knew you was watching something special happening again.
When it went to single figures I was thinking how the hell have we got here and knew we could still slip up at anytime. When the Aussies got frustrated they started to make some simple mistakes and slipped up big style.Jack Leach should have been run out and that was an LBW, if I've ever seen one. But the the Aussies had used up all their reviews so couldn't over turn the umpires decision.
When Jack Leach got his single run, you just knew Stokes would hit a 4 to finish it off...
My emotions were all over the place after the game had finished, never in my wildest dreams had I thought that could happen, but it did!
Yes I sang a lot and got merry that evening, To be honest I couldn't take it all in so I'll be first to admit I had to watch the highlights twice the next day to believe it..
 
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TheLocalYokel

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I was there for days 3 & 4 at the England vs Australia 3rd Ashes Test match at Headingley.

I'm a Yorkshire Member and have seen Yorkshire CCC do some amazing things in that ground over the years. The one that had stuck in my mind for a very long time was watching Tim Bresnan take 6-19 against Lancashire to win our home T/20 game back in 2017.

But that has now been toppled by Ben Stokes actions in the "Miracle of Headingley 2019". I'll never forget what both him and Jack Leach did when game was all but over for England. Stokes single handily took on the Aussies to win that game by doing some amazing batting.
To have witnessed it first hand I can only tell you that it was something different, the atmosphere coming from the England fans in that ground was electrifying, When it got down to under 30 to win you just knew you was watching something special happening again.
When it went to single figures I was thinking how the hell have we got here and knew we could still slip up at anytime. When the Aussies got frustrated they started to make some simple mistakes and slipped up big style.Jack Leach should have been run out and that was an LBW, if I've ever seen one. But the the Aussies had used up all their reviews so couldn't over turn the umpires decision.
When Jack Leach got his single run, you just knew Stokes would hit a 4 to finish it off...
My emotions were all over the place after the game had finished, never in my wildest dreams had I thought that could happen, but it did!
Yes I sang a lot and got merry that evening, To be honest I couldn't take it all in so I'll be first to admit I had to watch the highlights twice the next day to believe it..
Wonderful day that will obviously live long in the memories of those who, like you, were there. All for nothing in the end. Great shame.

We could do with Jack Leach at Taunton against Yorkshire as Somerset, yet again, tries to win its first ever County Championship.
 

lbaspotter

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I was also at Emirates Old Trafford on Sunday for day 5 of the 4th Ashes Test Match.

Was disappointing to lose so many early wickets in that 2nd innings. Losing Stokes was a low point for me. Jonny Blairstow doesn't look right as his batting and wicket keeping is all over the place. If I was a selector he would be dropped for the winter tour.
Jack Leach tried his god dam hardest again, but it was a mission in possible to try and keep in bat until end of play with Craig Overton.

Aussies deserved that win, Steve Smith easily was man of the match.

Let hope England can get a series draw at by winning the 5th match this week.
 
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TheLocalYokel

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England, like some other countries, seem to want to play wicket keepers who are really batsmen who can keep wicket at a pinch. Buttler isn't the greatest of wicket keepers and is really a batsman who stands behind the stumps, but I remain to be convinced that he is a test batsman. His forte is one-day and 20:20.

Bairstow's father, who sadly left us so early in such tragic circumstances, was a better wicket keeper than his son.
 

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