Ashes 2023: Harry Brook’s 75 carries England to victory in classic match at Headingley to keep series alive
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Ashes cricket is never dull, and it’s also never straight forward. Day 4 at Headingley saw England start on 27-0, in need of 224 for victory. Even the most optimistic of England supporters wouldn’t have expected a straightforward run chase- and that’s exactly what they got.
Several of England’s top order struggled, with many getting starts without being able to push on. Zak Crawley looked good for his 44, but few others in the top four looked comfortable.
Harry Brook came to the middle with the score 131-4 and 120 still needed. He was able to play his usual aggressive cricket whilst also standing his ground. Praise must also go to Chris Woakes who proved to be a much better partner for Brooks than Bairstow or Stokes.
As wickets fell around him, Brook remained calm and on the front foot to ensure that if he was to depart- which of course he did- that the lower order were left with the smallest number of runs left to chase as possible.
England needed someone to get them through to the finish line when Brook finally did fall, and that man is someone who has become an entertaining Mr Reliable with the bat. Mark Wood came out confident and aggressive and he top edged Starc for 6 in a shot which would surely have been a blow to the confidence of the big Aussie quick.
The packed Headingley crowd cheered every run, and jeered every Australian appeal for a wicket and slight misfield. The crowd is arguably a huge factor in why England have a great recent record against Australia in Leeds- and why Australia must be starting to dread visits to that particular corner of Yorkshire.
Wood and Woakes chipped away at the remaining 20 runs and used their heads to nab singles here and there. With one run needed for victory, Woakes cut the ball through midwicket for 4. The relief around Headingley was palpable and the shot confirmed to the world that this Ashes series is still alive and kicking.
The 2023 Men’s Ashes series heads to Manchester next, and with this huge confidence boost for England following two flat performances at Edgbaston and Lord’s it is set to be an absolute cracker at Old Trafford.