After England beat Australia by three wickets at Headingley on Sunday, the team’s captain, Ben Stokes, is sure that England can win back the Ashes. After losing the first two Tests, England had to win the rest of the five games in the series in order to get the urn back. The captain of England said that he has “no doubt” that they can win the rest of the game.
Since Don Bradman led Australia to victory in the 1936–1937 series Down Under, no team has won the Ashes after being down 2-0. Harry Brook’s 75 helped England win at Leeds on the fourth day of a difficult run chase, but they still need to win the next two games against Australia at Old Trafford and Oval to make their dream come true. So far, the series has been very close.
“Another game that came down to the wire,” Stokes said after the game. “It’s nice to cross the finish line and keep our dreams alive.
“It’s clear that it’s a big deal in the series as a whole. We knew we had to win this Test if we wanted to win the Ashes, so this is a good win. If you think about how close the first two games were, getting over the line in another close game can help your mind, knowing that it was another close game, but we won this one.
“We didn’t win the first two. If we didn’t win this one and it’s close again, you might think that it wasn’t meant to be. We’re thrilled to have won this one, but we know this is just the beginning of what we need to do.”
Stokes also liked how Mark Wood, Chris Woakes, and Moeen Ali played in the third Test after they were added to the team. “We brought Woody and Woakes back in, and it’s great when moves like that change the game. We look at how people can affect the game and how we can use them. This week, all three of those guys did that.
Woakes, who hadn’t played a Test since March 2022, helped take six wickets in the match and then played a key role in the tense run-chase in the fourth innings, where he finished unbeaten on 32. This included a 59-run stand with Harry Brook and an important 24-run stand with Wood, both of which were unbeaten.
“I didn’t even think about the fact that (Chris Woakes) hadn’t played red-ball in so long,” Stokes said. “He gives good performances. He’s always the same. Having someone who can bat like he can at No. 8 is a huge help, and he’s hugely in the game when the ball is moving around in the air or off the pitch.
Wood’s speed was also impressive, especially in the first innings when he hit a five. Then, he played two entertaining and useful cameos with the bat lower in the order. In 16 balls spread over two innings, he hit four sixes.
“Having someone who can come in and bowl at 95 miles per hour is a huge help,” said the English captain. “It makes a difference whether he gets catches at one end or the other. Great to see him running in and bowling rockets while smiling. And when he’s swinging the bat, he’s a free spirit with a clear head. He went into the game knowing how he wanted to play, which doesn’t always work, but gives you a better chance.
After coming back into the team to replace the sick Ollie Pope, Moeen Ali didn’t have as big of a role. He got two wickets in the second innings, but the most important thing is that he was asked to bat third in the chase. Mitchell Starc bowled him out with a yorker on 5 to show how bad the move was. But Stokes only had good things to say about the all-rounder. “Mo always wants to make a difference in the game. He told Brendon last night that he wanted to go against them and try to get to No. 3.” Thought he could make a difference up the order.”