“I’ve always had the mindset that’it’s never over until it is finished’.”
Says superstar Ben Stokes, that turned belief into genius at Headingley with a stupendous 135no which led England to a miraculous victory.
Rob Key caught up with the all-rounder ahead of the fourth Test at Old Trafford to relive one of the greatest Test comebacks of all time from Stokes within his own words…
“These are the moments, I figure, that really test you in terms of the place you are as a group. My shot was the worst of everyone’s, to be honest. It was absolutely dreadful but it came from walking outside having an optimistic mindset. I had been in a mindset’if I get whatever loose here, I’m going to attack itthey were bowling well that bad balls aren’t going to come together as often as they do’.
“We needed to get rid of the disappointment of the innings very fast and turn our focus . We did well to bowl them out to 179. Stuart Broad has performed with 130 Tests but he obtained so revved up before we went outside and bowled. I have seen him put up to get an event plenty of times but I’ve not seen him just like he was at the huddle for a long time. I’m not going to repeat what he said but he said’like we’re defending 170 to stay in this Test match, we all will need to bowl these guys’. He also got the wicket of all Warner immediately. He had been geed up that he did not really observe; it turned out like’I and I’m going to set the stage for it.’
“I have bowled long bouts before in Test matches. The initial four or five overs would be the toughest because your body’s not going. You truly feel as though you are running in very tough and whacking the ball down but you get to that point and what becomes a whole lot more easy. It is coming out although you feel as if you are jogging in and bowling at 80 percent. It got to a point where Joe (Root) was similar to’yet another?’ And that I said’yeah’. Then’?’
Jofra (Archer) got cramp and I said’I am still new; I’ll just keep going’. There was no chance of Joe getting the ball out of my hand since everything felt really good running to the crease and the ball was coming out how I needed it to. These are moments when you have a opportunity to stand up and actually show what it is you’re about and allowing Australia understand that even though you are ahead we’re not going to provide you a tease.”
“I think that the most nervous I have ever been was watching Joe Root and Joe Denly bat; it only came over me all the sudden. Find a towel and I needed to go in the room and set my mind I just started biting at the thread all . I think they got to a stage where they left it seem so easy your thoughts just go everywhere. For approximately half-an-hour I have never ever felt that anxious before.”
“Hazlewood hit me on the grill but that I still didn’t have the stem guards tied properly which is why they blew off everywhere. After you get hit the physician comes running out but that I was absolutely nice so I basically said’get off the area’.
He’d ask me if he can do the concussion test, so that I said’yeah’ but me, being me was just like’I am not going to demonstrate anything ‘. Australians were asking me’are you okay?’ I didn’t say no or yes. But then Rooty said’you need to tie them on because if they come off and hit the stumps you are likely to be out’.”
“One thing I attempt to convey to the group once we speak about batting is’have a strategy in your head about how you are going to play prior to getting out there’. The time that I was waiting to bat I only said to myself that if I got in, only get through; do not worry about runs. Since that’s the point, Maintain as many wickets in hand as possible for tomorrow. If Joe and I’re still there tomorrow we’ve got a fantastic prospect of winning the Test game’.”
“It was very evenly poised and we understood how essential partnerships were going to be. Every 10 runs that people believed off that total then put pressure onto Australia. The partnership which I had with Jonny (Bairstow) changed back the momentum towards us massively because the runs came in very quick time.”
“I understood Jofra was planning to get peppered so I simply said to him’how are you really planning to perform ‘ He moved’take them and then I’m probably going to ditch the first few’. I said’then do it if that is what you’re likely to do’. Lyon came on and that he tried to hit on him through cover. I said’since that is what he’s hoping to get you to do, do not even look at cover – it is spinning. If you’re likely to hit him, hit him.’
He moved four-four and I explained ‘we’ve got nine the more’ and he went’yeah thanks’. He then went block, block. Then I had to return to him and say to what it is you are doing, anything you do here, even if you’re going to block it hit it dedicate.’ I do not want to tell anyone how to play unless it is Jack Leach!”
“It was fairly easy with Leachy since I told him I would take five balls an over and he would take one. There were a couple of events. He understood that runs were and he just had to survive. During that whole partnership if someone was to get got out, I would have enjoyed it to be me because it is not his job to bat just like that. I didn’t need him to feel as though he’d lost the game. I have been there in the World cup with Woody where he felt as though it was his fault – it’s not his job to be present at the end and watch his side home.”
“With 70 runs wanted it was obvious I’d need to strike boundaries – taking twos with everyone bat could take a long time; it would give Australia too many opportunities to bowl balls at Leachy. I was really being clear in where I tried to strike my borders rather than attempt something brand new – stick for my strengths and not be concerned about this fielders.
“Playing the reverse-sweep comes out of playing with T20 cricket; I’m practising all these shots. It’s something which Ialso have had success with and’ve practised. When Lyon was carried out there in that stuff I did not understand where I was planning to hit a border so I just banged it”
“It was not that I couldn’t see Leachy because I did not feel that he could do it – I simply could not watch. It had been a matter to be a part of. Was just nervous After I faced I was fine but when I was not it. It was excruciating.”
“When it first hit me it obviously flicked my mat. You know as there is if you get hit on the mat you simply look out and think’ this a hitter out’ however, hand on heart, when I missed it I thought’that will be currently going down leg’.
“A lot was said about DRS did get it wrong but that comes back to making sure that you use your testimonials very well. If Australia had had one left they would have . My private opinion in terms of how I felt when I got hit, I genuinely thought it was slipping down leg.”
“I’ve got no idea why he began running . Because I swept and Leachy must have thought I was getting up to run. I only remember looking and he was shut and then visiting Lyon drop the ball I was going’what’s happening’.”
“Broady said it is the very best video he’s ever seen. The thing that he loves about it is that me and Nathan Lyon know that the match is won since the audience haven’t even got up.
“Our responses show you the entire opposite ends of sport in terms of emotion. It captured that brilliantly and the audience who had been there alive that all the way through with us the players.”
“I was asking everybody’what was it like up at the living area when that was occurring’ because you want to know what all the lads were performing. The superstitions All were coming outside. Then they had the venture on an iPad in the living area. So we all just sat around watching that. So that was pretty cool; even knowing what had occurred, it was still quite a nervous watch.”
“Leachy took JRoy’s eyeglasses and then only reenacted exactly what he did. The bit I laughed at most was at the conclusion of the video where he moves’complete off it, Stokesy’.
“Momentum is enormous in game, especially in cricket. Both teams would have gone through many emotions on that day. We finished coming out on top so we have got the confidence of knowng that we can win from everywhere.
“We can carry that last day we’d at Headingley into the very first day in Old Trafford but we all know there are still two matches left. What we managed to perform at Headingley will only be like it felt that day if we are raising the Ashes in the conclusion of the Oval.”
Watch Ben Stokes: My Summer up to Now at 8pm on Tuesday on Sky Sports The Ashes, Whilst day one of those fourth Ashes Test between Australia and England is currently live on Sky Sports The Ashes in 10am on Wednesday.
You can follow over-by-over commentary and in-play clips onto our rolling site on skysports.com and the Sky Sports program.
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