When Ben Stokes pierced the offside field and took England to victory in the third Ashes test against Australia, he completed England’s highest-ever successful run chase, and one of the most remarkable come-from-behind wins of all time.
Don’t forget that they were bowled out for 67 in the first innings, which is the lowest total by a winning team in 131 years.
When you consider all of that, Ben Stokes’ celebrations seem pretty tame.
His social media posts have been rather enjoyable to watch, and he also wrote about what happened once he made it back to the dressing room.
Let’s start with the Guardian:
“We started in the changing room and they had the full replay of the partnership with me and Jack Leach on the TV, so we all watched it together with Alastair Cook who came up to see everyone.
“It was great to relive it all and the atmosphere in the dressing room was just brilliant, even with three guys stood in the bathtub, and I have no idea why. Joe Denly, Jos Buttler and Rory Burns were all in there singing songs and asking people to get in the bath with them, but it was just too hot so we had to go outside.
Once the team had finished up at the ground, the team returned to their hotel to be with family and friends:
“Me, Buttler, [Chris] Woakes, Burns and [Joe] Root all jumped in an Uber and got £55 worth of McDonald’s drive-thru on the way. There were quarter pounders and Filet-O-Fish flying everywhere.”
Stokes also paid tribute to his wife, who supported him when he was charged with affray following an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in 2017. Stokes was found not guilty last year. He said: “Clare has been brilliant and so supportive throughout the years. Your family go through everything with you, good and bad, so it is great to be able to celebrate with them at times like this. I didn’t actually see Clare until late in the evening when we got back from the ground. I still had my training gear on and my England cap. First thing she spotted was the bag in my hand. She said: ‘Oh, so we’ve been to McDonald’s, have we?”’
Win a historic test match with one of the greatest innings of all time, and still get chirped about a late-night fast-food binge – priceless.
Before we go any further, I want everyone to take a moment to enjoy these two photos.
First, here’s Nathan Lyon, dropping the ball on AB de Villiers, after running him out in the ill-tempered series that ended with the sandpaper saga:
Then there’s this, from Sunday’s action, where Lyon misses a simple run-out that would have secured Australia a one-run victory, as well as retained the Ashes:
Funny how being a doos comes back to bite you in the arse, hey Gazzzzza?
It’s also worth looking at David Warner, charging in with a massive grin on his face, ready to unleash wild celebrations.
Given that Warner has scored 79 runs in six innings, for an average just north of 13, I’d suggest he hits the nets.
In his column for the Telegraph, English ‘keeper Jonny Bairstow gave readers some unique insight into what it was like batting with Stokes, as well as how the team reacted during the final part of the nervy run chase:
Ben Stokes had a simple message when I was batting with him on Sunday as we chased down Australia’s score. We just kept telling each other, “keep ploughing on, keep ploughing on”…He is great to bat with in those situations. He is so chilled and very calm…
While Ben was still in, it was not over but you know when a No 11 walks out and 73 are still needed that there is not much chance of winning. You know Australia are just one ball, one catch or run-out away from retaining the Ashes. But then Ben started hitting those big sixes, switch-hitting the spinner and flicking the quicks down to third man for six…
The dressing room was actually very calm. Nobody moved. In those situations people get very superstitious. If anyone moves you shout at them to sit down and stay in the same seat. Nobody wants to put a curse on what is happening out in the middle by doing something different. A few of the lads couldn’t watch. They were in the dark of the dressing room with the television on instead. I knew Jack Leach could block a few balls because he has a good technique. He is also very calm, a tough cricketer, but he was facing some of the finest bowlers in the world.
When Ben won the game there was pandemonium in our changing room. It was bonkers with people jumping everywhere. It was an outpouring of euphoria and relief. Afterwards Ben himself was very quiet. He was in disbelief about what he had done. I think he was just exhausted by it all as well.
He just sat in a corner with his cap on and had a moment by himself. He probably needed that. You could tell he was still in the zone because he went out for the post-match presentation and interviews still wearing his pads.
I would still be wearing them around the house, to be fair.
Bairstow said that the feeling was quite different from when they won the World Cup, because rather than hoisting a trophy into the air and celebrating a job well done and wrapped up, it involved a different sort of realisation:
We played in a game that will live forever in the memories of England cricket fans. After a while we went out to the middle, sat in a circle as a team on the pitch where it had all happened. Joe Root and Trevor Bayliss spoke to the group. They just told us to sit together, appreciate and understand how special something like that was. We had to take a step back away from it all to be able to understand what we had been a part of. Joe told us to, “enjoy this moment on such a special day” and that “we had done something that was incredible”.
I can only imagine the scenes inside the Ozzie dressing room.
They will come out swinging in the fourth test, and England will have their work cut out to take back the urn from their rivals. Whatever happens from here on out, though, Stokes and his teammates will always have Headingley.
This picture, combining Stokes’ changing room shot with one of Ian Botham after his 1981 Headingley heroics, just about sums it up:
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