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.”
— Stuart Broad (@StuartBroad8) August 25, 2019
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.”