"He will be remembered" - Ben Stokes almost pulls off Headingley-esque run-chase in controversy-marred Lord's Ashes Test
Four years after executing the Headingly heist, Ben Stokes delivered another extraordinary performance. The England Test captain notched up a truly remarkable century, marking the 13th of his career and providing his team with a solid opportunity to secure a series-levelling victory. However, luck was not on the side of Stokes and England as it had been in Leeds in 2019. Stokes' devastating innings came to an end at 155, and shortly thereafter, Australia sealed the deal with a 43-run win at Lord's.
England found themselves in a precarious position at 45/4, and their confidence remained uncertain even at 193/6 when Jonny Bairstow fell victim to a controversial run-out. However, it was as if the Bairstow incident ignited a spark within the England captain and he proceeded to deliver a performance that will be recounted by spectators at Lord's for generations to come.
Stokes arrived at the crease after the dismissal of the fourth wicket, having scored 62 runs off 126 balls. Then, he switched to beast mode. In the next 21 balls, he plundered 46 runs, exhibiting his aggression specifically against Cameron Green.
In no time, Stokes raced to 151 off 197 balls, causing Australia to enter panic mode. Steve Smith dropped a straightforward catch when Stokes was on 114 and the England all-rounder made the former Australia captain pay for the mistake.
Ben Stokes scripted a host of records with his scintillating century
England managed to reduce the target to below 100, with 70 runs needed and only 4 wickets remaining, making Stokes the key figure in the chase. Stokes and Stuart Broad formed a 100-run partnership, with Stokes contributing over 90 percent of those runs.
However, just when England needed to sustain that momentum, disaster struck. Australia frustrated Stokes by persistently bowling outside off-stump, successfully halting the flow of runs. This tactic managed to agitate the batter, leading to his downfall as he attempted an ambitious shot through the leg side.
If it weren’t for Ben Stokes playing a blinder the match would have been over before lunch today— Chris 🏴🇮🇪🦅 (@BearCPFC) July 2, 2023
During his innings, Stokes achieved several significant milestones. His score of 155 marked the first Ashes century by an England captain since Andrew Strauss' 161 at Lord's in 2009. Furthermore, it was the first hundred by a captain in The Ashes since Smith's 239 in 2017/18, and the first century by a captain in an Ashes match in England since Clarke's 187 at The Oval in 2013.