Ben Stokes

If he wasn't already, Ben Stokes is now a certified legend. The innings he played against Australia at Headingly to win the third Test for England in the Ashes series will be regarded as one of the greatest ever.

England had a target of 359 to chase and they were nine wickets down at the score of 286, needing a further 73 runs to win. What transpired then was the Stokes show. He engaged in a 76-run partnership with no. 11 Jack Leach in which the latter only contributed one run and faced just 17  balls. Stokes ended up with a personal score of 135 not out. 

But that doesn't even begin to convey the story of the entire match. Stokes was batting on 96 when Hazlewood begin one of his overs. Stokes smashed the first ball to the midwicket boundary to reach his 100 and then hit two more sixes to put the cat among the pigeons in the Australian camp. 

Ben Stokes
Stokes after leading his team to victoryTwitter/ICC

But the most dramatic part of the game was the penultimate over bowled by Nathan Lyon. Eight runs were needed. First, Stokes hit a big shot down the ground which seemed to heading into the hands of Josh Hazlewood for him to take easily. But it went over him for six. Then, there was an easy run-out opportunity but Lyon fumbled and couldn't collect the ball at the non-striker's end. Leach would have been out easily if the Aussie off-spinner had just collected the throw and removed the bails. 

On the very next ball, the last of the over, there was a big shout for lbw against Stokes as he attempted a big hit. It looked out to everyone except umpire Joel Wilson who gave it not out. Australia had used up their one remaining review on a hopeless appeal against Jack Leach. The replays showed Stokes was plumb lbw and the Aussies could do nothing about it. 

Ben Stokes
Stokes plays a big shot during his inningsTwitter/ICC

Leach was on strike in the next over and he took a single to bring the scores level. The next delivery was short and wide and Stokes smashed it to take his team to a most famous victory. That boundary concluded what might be regarded as the greatest Test match every played. 

Even apart from the heroics of Stokes, there was much else to be savoured from this game. The fact that a team which got bowled out for 67 in the first innings was able to win the match is in itself quite remarkable. The fact that this same team chased down a target of 359 in the second innings is even more astonishing. 

We also witnessed some high-quality seam bowling from the likes of Josh Hazlewood and Jofra Archer. The twists and turns this match took and the dramatic nature of events makes this one of the finest games of cricket ever seen.