WHAT an Ashes Test it was at Leeds – Headingley just produces time and time again.
For me, it is a venue that should be like Lord’s and always have a Test match as it produces unbelievable drama and unbelievable Test matches and an incredible atmosphere.
I go back to the game that we played against South Africa on that last morning when 20,000 people turned up for us to bowl a couple of balls. The Headingley crowd never ceases to fail to amaze.
For me, Headingley and Edgbaston are the best two venues for fans by a mile. Lord’s has the history of cricket, but for atmosphere go to Leeds and Birmingham without a doubt.
Sunday was pretty special and Ben Stokes’s innings was one of the best ever, without a doubt.
But people should not forget Kevin Pietersen’s against India in 2012 and at The Oval under pressure against Australia in 2005 and their fast bowling and then you look at Brian Lara versus Australia in Bridgetown in 1999. These are all great innings and I am sure there are plenty of others.
Nathan Lyon could go down as the man who dropped the Ashes after fumbling that throw for a run-out.Darren Gough
Look at the innings from Sri Lanka’s Kusal Perera six months ago when he helped put on 100-odd for the 10th wicket.
It was an unbelievable innings and he has not had a run since, so I hope the same does not happen to Ben!
Looking at the Ashes, to be fair, both teams still have problems and it is not two great teams on show. Bowling is dominating the series and the bowlers on each side have very good line-ups, but the batting is struggling except for Steve Smith, who has been outstanding, and Marnus Labuschagne, who has stood up and shown guts.
It was a moment of brilliance from Ben and a mad hour which changed the game totally. He is one of the world’s greatest players and when he needs to stand up, he does – we have seen it so many times.
You look at the heart he showed when he was bowling on Saturday to give England a chance and with the bat. He was just out of this world and Sunday was unbelievable as England went on to win the game.
Ben is not the most out and out talented bowler. But what he has got, when it is flat, is heart. When you are looking around your team for someone to bowl on a flat pitch, you look at Ben Stokes – and Jofra Archer.
They are people who can make a difference; Archer with his pure pace and Stokes with his heart, desire and belief.
You cry out for bowlers like them in those situations.
I don’t think you need to bowl Stokes when the ball is moving around as much as you have people like Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad and Archer. But when it goes flat, you need people like Stokes, who will bowl all day. He is a captain’s dream, really.
Who knows what to expect in the fourth Test at Old Trafford, which starts next week? Australia may surprise us all and I do think that Mitchell Starc might come into the reckoning. They missed him at Headingley and I think he might have made a difference with that extra pace and those yorkers.
I think they may also open with Usman Khawaja and drop Marcus Harris. They have a couple of things they need to work on.
There are a couple of interesting things about England as well.
I think Zac Crawley and Dom Sibley are the next two cabs off the rank in terms of batsmen, but the selectors might decide to stay with Jason Roy or go down to James Vince and stick with experience and save the youth for the winter.
It will be interesting to see what they do and I am looking forward to watching it.
I think there will be two close Test matches to come, although I have no idea which way they are going to go.
The two teams are so closely matched and it is a series dominated by the ball over the bat. Anything can happen; a toss of the coin could decide it.
When you get all out for 67 in the first innings and win, anything can happen. Headingley was amazing. Australia threw away so many opportunities and they should have batted England out of the game in the second innings and England should have been chasing 420.
But Australia lost it and we had the brilliance of Stokes, who simply had the game of his life. Wonderful!
Fortunately, we did have the luck, too, and no way should Australia have used the review for the one before Nathan Lyon’s at the end.
But you do not expect the umpire to have a howler like he did, which was disappointing.
That said, I am not going to complain as England ended up winning and for all Lyon has said over the years, he could go down as the man who dropped the Ashes after fumbling that throw for a run-out.
Unfortunately, after being at Leeds for the first three days, I was not there on Sunday to see it all unfold.
I was at a charity game, but I did manage to watch most of the action at the end live and it was great to see.
What a Test match and it is still all to play for in Manchester next week.