Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow’s unbroken 79-run stand had England believing they could keep the Ashes alive by recording an incredible win over Australia at Headingley.
Chasing 359 for victory in the third Test – a target which would represent England’s highest successful chase in the longest format – only one wicket fell in the morning session as Stokes and Bairstow, unbeaten on 32 and 34 respectively, not only saw off the threat of the new ball but prospered.
The pendulum swung in Australia’s favour when England captain Joe Root (77) charged at Nathan Lyon and an inside edge onto his pad looped over wicketkeeper Tim Paine before David Warner flung himself across to take a brilliant catch.
Just three runs had been added to the overnight total of 156-3 at that point but Stokes and Bairstow cut loose and darted between the wickets as Australia, seeking a victory that would ensure they retained the urn, became increasingly frustrated with England 238-4 at lunch, 121 runs from victory.
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) August 25, 2019
Stokes had made two from 50 deliveries on Saturday and was struck on the helmet by a Josh Hazlewood bouncer, the ball shattering the batsman’s neck guard, during a 25-ball scoreless start to the first session.
However, after Root fell, both he and Bairstow looked to take the attack to Australia, with Stokes at one point pulling Pat Cummins for a maximum as England dared to dream.