England levelled the Ashes in emphatic fashion at Headingley in the third Test of the Ashes with Ben Stokes making a sensational hundred and combining with Jack Leach in a 76-run partnership for the final wicket with the no.11 batsman making just one run. Quite a few records took a beating as Stokes pulled off the impossible with some exceptional batting in exasperating circumstances. Here are a few stat nuggets from the game.
Since 1900, no team had been bowled out for a lower total and won a Test match. England, bowled out for 67 in the first innings, came from behind to chase down 359 in a breathtaking manner. Only three lower scores by teams have resulted in wins but they have all come in the 1880s.
The 10th wicket stand
There has only been one higher stand for the 10th wicket resulting in a successful fourth innings run-chase. Kusal Perera and Vishwa Fernando did the impossible in South Africa earlier this year with a 78-run stand for the final wicket. They took Sri Lanka from 226/9 to 304 for a win. Here at Headingley,Ben Stokes and Jack Leach were involved in a 76-run stand for the 10th wicket taking England from 286/9 to 362/9.
England’s record chase
England had never chased a 350-plus total in Test cricket before. Only 10 teams had ever chased 350-plus totals in the fourth innings of Test matches. Australia (thrice), India and Sri Lanka (twice each), South Africa, West Indies and Pakistan (once each) were the ones to do it before.
England’s previous highest run chase was a 332 at Melbourne in 1928 against Australia. The 359 run chase is the ninth joint highest in the history of Test cricket.
This is the fourth instance of England winning a Test by one wicket. It had happened before against South Africa at Cape Town in 1922 and against Australia in 1902 and 1907.
Only two other England batters have a higher score in the fourth innings of a Test than Stokes’ 135. Mark Butcher made 173 in 2001 against Australia at the very same venue while Jack Brown had made 140 way back in 1895.
Stokes’ innings could be split into three distinct phases. Overnight, Stokes had made just 2 in 66 balls. As wickets tumbled around him, Stokes continued a cautious approach yet got moving a bit more. His half-century came in 152 balls but when the last wicket fell, the all-rounder knew he had to accelerate.
During the last wicket stand of 76, Stokes made 74 in 45 balls with seven sixes and four fours. Leach only made one run in 17 balls in the partnership while there was one extra.
The sixes and Headingley humdingers
The eight sixes struck by Ben Stokes is the highest number of sixes in an innings in an Ashes game. It is the third highest number of sixes in the fourth innings of a Test match after Nathan Astle (11) and Tim Southee (9).
Leeds has borne witness to some exceptional run chases. This was the fourth instance of a team successfully chasing a 300-plus total at Headingley in the fourth innings. That’s the most number of 300-plus run-chases at a single venue.