As the 2023 LV= Insurance Men’s Ashes series heads to Headingley, we take a look back at the last Men’s Ashes match to be hosted in Leeds. This was back in 2019 and it was, like it is this year, the third game of the series.
England headed to Yorkshire having lost at Edgbaston and being forced to settle for a draw in a rain-hit second Test at Lord’s. Australia knew that a win at Headingley would ensure they would return home with the urn.
England won the toss and decided to field- a decision which looked to be a great one just four overs in when Marcus Harris was removed by Jofra Archer. At 25-2, Australia looked in trouble, however Marnus Labuschagne and David Warner put on 100 for the third wicket to steady the ship.
The chaos soon followed, however, and Australia crumbled from 136-2 to 179 all out, with Archer taking six wickets. Any hopes of a bright England start were soon demolished.
Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood dismantled the top order, and the rest of the batting card soon followed. Hazlewood finished with five wickets as England were bowled out for 67- only Joe Denly with 12 reached double figures.
England had gifted Australia a first innings lead of over 100, and it took a monumental bowling effort to reduce Australia to 246 all out. Ben Stokes bowled over 24 overs and took three wickets as England were set a huge 359 runs to win.
The near impossible looked absolutely impossible when openers Rory Burns and Jason Roy both went early, leaving England 15-2. Joe Root and Joe Denly put on 126 for the third wicket to restore some hope, but when Root was removed by Lyon England were still over 200 from victory.
Ben Stokes dug in and had some support from Jonny Bairstow who ended up getting 36, but as the rest of the lower middle order were blown away defeat looked inevitable. When Jack Leach came in as last man, England still needed 73 runs.
This spell turned into some of the most dramatic Test cricket the world has ever seen. Stokes took Australian bowlers to town and launched ball after ball towards the boundary. With the target just 17 away, Marcus Harris dropped Stokes and then with just two runs needed, a poor attempt as a single should have seen Leach run out by Australian spinner Lyon dropped the ball.
With one run needed, Stokes drilled the ball away for four and won a pulsating match for his side. If we see anything similar to this match this time around at Headingley, we’ll have had another match deserving of this series.