Jack Leach joked he was distracted by Ben Stokes not being able to watch him bat as England completed one of the great Ashes Test wins against Australia.

Stokes made a magnificent 135 not out as England triumphed by one wicket at Headingley on Sunday, levelling the series despite making just 67 in their first innings.

Leach played a vital supporting role despite making a single run as part of the 76 partnership that saw England home in front of a raucous Leeds crowd.

While Stokes thrashed Australia’s bowlers around the park to rapidly reduce the runs needed, Leach was able to survive – despite his nervous partner being unable to watch.

“It put me off a little bit!” Leach told Sky Sports of Stokes looking away.

“He said he couldn’t watch one ball and then when another was coming in I could see he couldn’t watch again. I was like, ‘have a bit of faith!’

“It’s a big boost, it’s 1-1 now with all to play for. We were desperate to win the game and somehow we pulled it off so it was very special.

“It was a very special feeling. Stokesy was unbelievable. It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. And the crowd was insane.

“[Stokes] didn’t really say a lot. When I first went in it was about him having most of the strike and being ready to run two. Then when I had to face a ball I had to break it down and get through one ball at a time.”

Leach, who made 92 against Ireland in another comeback win for England in July, became a cult hero with his idiosyncratic approach.

The spinner regularly paused to wipe his glasses clean before taking strike, earning a standing ovation from the Headingley fans every time he survived an over.

“I know I look stupid out there but we got the job done,” Leach said. “I’d take back that 92 for one not out here.”