The constant rhetoric decrying the waning popularity of Test cricket met a huge obstacle in the face of intriguing battles all throughout the year in the longest format. The year was filled with thrilling encounters but the two matches that stood out from the rest included England’s incredible Ashes victory at Headingley and Kusal Perera’s freakish innings to pull off a heist over South Africa.
While Perera’s astonishing knock was no mean feat, England’s extraordinary come-from-behind win from the doldrums of despair is one of the best comebacks in the history of the game. England were shot out for 67 in their first innings with Josh Hazlewood wreaking havoc on their fragile lineup.
Already trailing 1-0 in the series and with the Ashes urn on the line, England then brought forth their A game in pursuit of the daunting target of 359. They had a bright start to their chase but everything fell apart in the latter half. Staring at defeat requiring 73 runs for the win and just one wicket remaining, England’s savior Ben Stokes then struck the innings of a lifetime.
The left-hander upped the ante with some lusty blows that travelled the distance and unleashed blistering strokes to take his team closer to the 359-run mark. He then survived a major scare when just two runs were left for a miraculous win with the umpire giving not out to a plumb lbw decision. On the previous delivery, his partner Jack Leach was almost run-out but Nathan Lyon failed to collect the ball cleanly and remove the bails.
Ultimately, Stokes fittingly hit the winning runs with a flashy drive and was drowned in the arms of his celebrating teammates amidst the raucous crowd, who were treated to an epic match.