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Stokes hails Ashes miracle as 'one of the two best feelings' in his career
Ashes 2019

Stokes hails Ashes miracle as 'one of the two best feelings' in his career

Ben Stokes said his sensational century to cap off a memorable win for England in the third Ashes Test at Headingley ranked among the two best moments of his cricket career.

England, shot out for an abysmal 67 in the first innings, required a mammoth task of 76 runs for victory when the ninth wicket fell bringing No.11 Jack Leach into the middle alongside Stokes.

But the left-handed middle order batsman stuck to his basics and shifted gears quite effectively to hammer the Australia bowling attack during his splendid 135 not out.

"Unbelievable. It's one I'll never forget," an emotional Stokes told Sky Sports following the thrilling one-wicket victory.

"I've got to try and take it all in," added Stokes, who was the hero of England's dramatic World Cup final triumph a little over a month ago.

"I'm not sure it'll ever happen again. It's one of the two best feelings I've ever felt on a cricket pitch."

Stokes at one stage was deprived of batting partners on the other end but he claimed to have never lost hope despite the precarious circumstances.

"Just never give up. It's not over until it's over. When Leachy came in it was pretty clear what had to be done. It was five and one. I'll take five (deliveries), you take one."

Leach, who recently top-scored for England against Ireland with a career-best 92 while batting as a nightwatchman, gave the requisite support to Stokes for the final wicket stand and his efforts were appreciated by the 28-year-old.

"He's a super nightwatchman, knowing what he had to do. I couldn't watch in the end. I was just waiting to see what happened."

Stokes began his innings on Saturday with an overtly sedate approach but gradually raised his strike rate according to the situation.

"I think when it got down to the 30s I was thinking, 'rein it in a little', but when it was in the 60s, 70s, 50s I had to really try and I sort of got in the zone," explained Stokes.

"We had to win this game to stay in the Ashes and we managed to do it."

'This Ashes is alive and kicking' - Joe Root

England skipper Joe Root reckoned Stokes' innings was one of the most freakish knocks he has ever witnessed.

Pleased with the prospect of England regaining the Ashes urn, Root emphasized the importance of achieving the series-leveling win.

"We said at the start of the day, 'we just have to believe' and while two people are alive and breathing, we have a chance," he said.

"We've seen some freakish things already this summer in the World Cup but I didn't think we'd see something similar in this series.

"It was an incredible game of cricket, an incredible atmosphere and Test cricket is alive and kicking. This Ashes is alive and kicking," added Root, who rescued England's chase from a dire position at 15-2 on the third day of the game.

"To try and sum that up in words is pretty much impossible. Outrageous batting," he reflected on Stokes' astounding batting.