After England were bowled out for 67 in their first innings, the fourth such instance they have been bowled out for less than 100 runs since the start of 2018, not many would have had high hopes of an England win in the third Ashes Test.
Ben Stokes, despite what I may think about him, is a supremely talented cricketer, no matter what format, he just delivers.
He already had one heroic innings this summer, in the World Cup final, he couldn’t surely have another one, could he?
It was an uncharacteristic innings from Stokes, who got to his fifty off 152 deliveries.
He knew he was the key for England, he knew he had the skill set and the shots to make the unimaginable happen.
When the ninth wicket of Stuart Broad fell, with England still trailing by 73 runs, it looked to all concerned that the writing was on the wall for England. Stokes though did not give up, and the more he attacked, the more Australia panicked.
Stokes didn’t react when he scored his fifty, or his century, that was not important to him, he wanted the win, he was going to get the win.
When he hit that final shot that got England the impossible victory, then we saw a reaction. Stokes was simply sensational, and you know that must have been a special innings if even I can say that.
Australia though, lost the plot, for all intents and purposes, they choked.
A dropped catch when Stokes was on 116, a review from Tim Paine that was wasted as the ball was clearly going down leg, and then a missed run-out.
Australia had their chance to get the final wicket and they couldn’t handle the pressure.
People will say that it was the umpire, Joel Wilson’s fault that Australia didn’t win, because of that plumb LBW shout to Stokes that was not given.
Granted the umpiring in International Cricket has been atrocious in the past year or so, but it is not the umpire’s fault that Australia couldn’t hold onto their catches, fumbled the ball for a run-out or didn’t use DRS correctly.
The Ashes is well and truly alive with the series tied 1-1, and Steve Smith will be back for the fourth Test.
We are in for a cracking couple of weeks!
The fourth Ashes Test starts on Wednesday 4th September, in Manchester, at 12pm SA time.