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2 Oct

Object of the month - October

Many thanks to Mel Reuben for his aid in acquiring the gloves

Ben Stokes’s Gloves – England v Australia, Third Test – 23rd August – Emerald Headingley, 2019.

On 23 August 2019, having dismissed the Smith-less Australians for 179, England were dismantled for 67 and looked to have wasted a golden opportunity to level the series. However, people reckoned without the `Headingley Effect’…

England recovered to became only the third team in Test history to be bowled out for less than 70 in their first innings and go on to win, as well as setting up a grandstand battle in the final two matches. It was also the greatest Test run chase on English soil since 1948 – coincidentally, also at Headingley – when Australia successfully chased down a target of 404. In doing so, they set a new world record for the highest victorious run-chase in Test history.

In creating the Miracle of Leeds, whilst England did not emulate the numbers (they `only’ needed 359 to win in their second innings!), Ben Stokes’ swash-buckling 135 not out repeated his World Cup heroics against New Zealand from earlier in the year and gave England one of their greatest and unlikeliest victories to keep the Ashes series against Australia alive.

In doing so, Stokes played one of the most incredible Test innings ever by an Englishman to level the series at 1-1. This achievement was made all the more remarkable given the situation England found themselves in when he came to the crease. Aided by Bairstow, England had started to steady the ship after a shaky start but even then, they were a very long way from victory. The situation was rendered pretty much hopeless when Bairstow departed, followed by Buttler, Archer and Broad, all of whom surrendered their wickets cheaply.

England still had one more wicket left to relinquish: last man, bespectacled Jack Leach. Unfortunately, though, the home side still needed 73 to save the Ashes. It was against this backdrop that Stokes took the attack to the Australians.

Off-spinner Nathan Lyon was dispatched for three sixes, followed by a boundary from Josh Hazlewood, and a further four and two sixes. In the process, Stokes achieved his century.

Stokes ploughed on, knowing one mistake, one error of judgement, would prove to be the end. Improbably and astonishingly, the winning post came into view!

Pivotal points came in what proved to be the penultimate over: Lyon failed to run out Leach then, immediately following this passage of play, the Australians mounted a massive (and heart-stopping) lbw appeal against Stokes. This was rejected.

In the next over, Leach scrambled a single off and, with one to win, Stokes hammered the ball through the covers, sending the capacity crowd into raptures.

It had been one of the most incredible games of cricket ever played and as Stokes dragged himself exhausted from the field, he performed one final duty – he signed and gave the gloves from his match-winning, Ashes-saving innings to the Yorkshire Cricket Archive.

The gloves can be seen on display in the Yorkshire Cricket Museum from next season or alternatively, contact Paul.Goodman@yorkshirecricketfoundation.com for future Stadium Tours.

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