LEEDS: Cricket World Cup hero Ben Stokes scored a stunning 135 not out as England kept its Ashes hopes alive with a one-wicket win over Australia in the third test at Headingley.
Stokes scored the winning four Sunday in the afternoon session on Day 4 as England finished on 362-9 in its second innings — chasing what seemed an improbable 359 — after an unbeaten 76-run stand for the 10th wicket with Jack Leach, who scored only 1 run in the partnership.
It's the highest successful fourth-innings chase by England in a test match.
Stokes was dropped by Marcus Harris at third man off Pat Cummins and survived an easy runout chance and lbw decision close to the end. The allrounder finished with 11 fours and eight sixes in one of the greatest innings by an England batter.
The teams are now level at 1-1 in the series. Australia would have secured the famous urn with a 2-0 lead and only two tests remaining in the five-match series.
England started the day on 156-3, still needing 203 more runs to win and stay alive in cricket's oldest regular international series. Captain Joe Root (77) was out early but Stokes and Jonny Bairstow (36) shared an 86-run stand for the fifth wicket, taking England from 159-4 to 245-5 when Josh Hazlewood (4-85) dismissed Bairstow.
England No. 11 Leach survived as Stokes' final partner, with the pair coming together on 286-9. When their 50-run partnership came up, the spinner still hadn't scored. His 1 not out came off 17 balls.
Stokes was man of the match in England's Super Over win over New Zealand in the World Cup final exactly six weeks ago.
Australia, which was missing injured star batter Steve Smith, scored 179 and 246. England was dismissed for only 67 in its first innings, making the final victory for the hosts even more remarkable.
The fourth test starts Sept. 4 at Old Trafford.
Australia won the previous Ashes series 4-0 Down Under in 2017-18.