Ben Stokes’s best England innings
Ben Stokes’s best England innings

Hell, just say it all off now. Forget the Premier League, cancel the Rugby World Cup, cancel the World Athletics Championships and whatever we are going to be excited in the coming weeks and months. And for the sake of goodness, junk a hundred. They will impress everyone after this Headley Test, when Ben Stokes, who was the most unlikely saint, worked for two different miracles that required him to perform his own prescribing. It was the innings of his lifetime, and everyone else, certainly the best England player since Ian Botham won 500-1 when he scored his unbeaten 149 in 1981, and sober judges considered it. , maybe even better than that.

After Stokes took the last four wickets, Alistair Cook had to say “the most extraordinary innings played by an Englishman” after Stokes was out. Never mind everyone, even Stokes found very excited to see.

Even when he confronted his fellow England No.11 batsman Jack Leach, he could not bring himself in to face the Australian bowlers from behind his dim-of-the-box glasses. He stopped playing so that he could get away from them. Whenever there was a strike in Leech, Stokes was too scared to see his junk sitting on the ground and staring at the field. He was not bothering to stand on running bowlers until he decided to steal the singles until the score level was reduced. He wasn’t so worried. The leech saw them all. “Jack, Stokes later said, ” “Some serious bids have been received. ”

To find out, you have to go back by the afternoon before the match, when Stokes bowled poorly, nine overs on 45 runs, and then stopped the second morning when he was giving a catch in the first slip. The worst shots he’s ever attempted.

When something happened to him, he broke down. Later on the same day, after a tea break, Stokes started bowling from the football stand-end and refused to stop until the Australian team finished. He scored consecutive fours in 25 overs, breaking when Jofra Archer replaced him for four balls. Then Archer broke up with cramps, and Stokes came back in the attack.

The next morning Stokes also bowled. It was almost as if he was punishing himself. By the end of the inning, he bogs used Travis Head and outed Matthew Wade and Pat Cummins. And even after that England still needed 359 runs, more than they ever had to win the Test, in fact, this country is more than anyone except the Australian players at Headingley in 1948. And they had Don Bradman.

Stokes came late Saturday evening when England were 141 for three, with Root scoring 64. He stoned that night, and barely attempted a scoring shot. Her hips had a clip for a single, a short-leg inside edge for the other, and that was it. He had scored two runs on 50 balls when he blew the stumps, had two wickets for 66 runs when Root caught a catch behind Nathan Leon when Australia took the new ball on Sunday morning. He was going so slowly that Even Geoff Boycott worried that he was too obedient. He faced 74 balls to hit his first boundary. In more than 25 years, no Englishman took much time to bring it to double figures.

Then Johnny Bairstow lifted the wind before a thunderstorm. He started belting that new ball perfectly, and in a crucial spell before lunch, both scored 60 runs in just ten overs. And suddenly the score was traveling so fast that the impossible distance between England and the win began to be less than 200, 180, 160, 140, 120, as long as it was coming into sight on the horizon, Bairstow was caught in the slip. Then Head scored Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes caught on the short extra cover and England had three wickets left and needed the best run of 100 runs.

Same old England. Everyone who has ever seen them knew how the game was going. Not that they had left on the western roof where, after five hours round, they will give you the first time. “Stand up, if you love Ben Stokes, ” and “Stop shoes, if you love Ben Stokes Instead of celebration, hope instead of hope. Of course, it becomes hope you end up. By the time the leeches came, everyone else conceded defeat, England needed another 73 runs. No damn was found what happened next. Not by my logic, yours, or anyone else, but this game is not going to work like this when we have the first children out of love.

The first two sixes made Australian players look like a final escort; It was the third, a switch hit-over cover that seemed to cast the spell, and the fourth, scoop up from its own head to the fine leg, which showed that some powerful magic caught the thrust, and the umpire and the fielders were all caught. Above it. So even when he was out, lbw when England needed two more runs, he somehow got away from it. Stokes didn’t even stop accepting a century he scored when he cracked four through long-on, but the six were hit in the Western Terraces, four worked so hard that they were stopping the gap in nine-man Corden Tim Penn. Set to the edge of the boundary. Another six, off the field, and in all this end, he was the last match-winner four.

All England finished at 67, and Ash moved on. They had reached the very bottom of the pit. In the dark down, where people lose their careers, Stokes looked around and found, deep within himself, vowing to lead his team up and out again. So, yes, throw out your whites, burn your bats, scrap your wits. I am breaking my laptop. It will never be better than Sunday afternoon’s sunshine in Headingley.