England Keep Ashes Alive With Victory In Third Test At Headingley

Mark Wood and Chris Woakes hit the winning runs in Leeds...
15:56, 09 Jul 2023

England secured a vital victory by three wickets in the Third Test match at Headingley to keep the Ashes alive as Harry Brook scored 75, before Chris Woakes and Mark Wood got England over the line in spectacular fashion. 

Perhaps it was fitting that the two men brought in for this Test match would team up to secure the winning runs, having been so effective with the ball in hand. Four years ago it was Ben Stokes who drove one to the offside to secure the winning runs, this time it was another all-rounder in Foakes, who got his moment of glory in front of the western terrace. 

At points it looked as though England had thrown this away, especially when Stokes was out cheaply and England were left at 161/5. But Brook, who dropped down the order into his preferred batting position of five, produced a wonderful display to carry England forward. His 75, which made him the quickest player to secure 1000 Test runs in terms of deliveries, was one of maturity. 

He took the singles when needed to keep the scorecard ticking over, and hit some beautiful boundaries, while he also trusted his partner at the other end. That was Foakes for the majority, and the decision to bring him into the team now looks like a masterstroke given the performance he put in. 

Then we come to Wood. The way he performed with the bat, with his aggressive style, means he should be considered as another all-rounder. Brendon McCullum has some big decisions to make in Manchester, including whether Jonny Bairstow should keep his place. 

The day wasn’t straightforward. England got to 42 without loss before Ben Duckett was out LBW, after getting himself in a tangle in front of his stumps. Moeen Ali came in at three in place of Brook as the crowd roared on one of their favourites, making a surprise appearance higher up the order. However, he managed just five runs before being clean bowled by Mitchell Starc. 

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Crawley had played well but wafted at a Mitch Marsh delivery and was caught behind. That felt like a key wicket for Australia who had enjoyed a hugely profitable morning session as Brook came in at 5.  Just when it looked like Brook and Root were building a wonderful partnership, Pat Cummins got Root out - again. The former England captain gloved the ball down the legside to Alex Carey and England were 135/4. 

They made it to lunch with Ben Stokes now at the crease at 153/4, needing 98 runs for victory in the afternoon session. It was looking good, but Stokes clipped a ball to Carey straight after lunch and was gone for 13. It wasn’t what Starc had intended, but it paid off in style as the match remained in the balance. 

Brook came to the fore with Chris Woakes though and England regained their composure. They took singles when they were on offer, and then when Brook wanted to open up, he did so as the pair raced to a vital 50 partnership. That took England 30 runs away from victory, but with 21 runs to go, Brook lost his wicket. 

He popped one up in the air and although Starc and Cummins collided, they held onto the ball to dismiss the England man on 75. Mark Wood came in, and with his third ball hit a superb six to take his side 12 away from victory. A couple of balls later he hit a fantastic four to the off side and the crowd erupted with every run. 

With four to go, Wood sliced one up in the air and Carey and Boland got mixed up to drop him. England escaped once more and then, the duo picked off the singles before Woakes got the winning run. The Test match is won, the Ashes is still alive. Bring on Old Trafford. 

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