England v Australia Ashes 3rd Test Match Review
This summer’s Ashes cricket series involving England and Australia in the United Kingdom exploded to life last week with a gripping third Test Match. Headingley played host to a renewal that Australia was expected to win and take a 2-0 series lead, one that would’ve shunted them to within touching distance of Ashes glory, but the match didn’t go according to plan for the tourists.
Australia was within minutes of a 2-0 lead in the series – the second Test Match having ended in a draw – but they were undone by a stunning fightback from the hosts. England rolled up their sleeves and fought back, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat and it was a day that will live long in the memory of everyone who witnessed it.
England claimed a jaw-dropping 3rd Test Match by just one wicket, the scoreboard reading England 67 all out and 362-9 against Australia’s 179 all out and 246 all out. The test was scheduled to run until Monday afternoon but both teams played things to a conclusion inside four days with the result confirmed on bank holiday Sunday in glorious sunshine.
Stokes was Superb
Sunday’s win in the second test will go down as a real team effort and the match couldn’t have been won without the efforts of everyone involved, but those in attendance and watching the live coverage on Sky Sports will credit the victory to one man who stood head and shoulders above the pack. Ben Stokes played sublime cricket to drive his teammates to victory, notching an astonishing 135 not out to turn the game on its head.
After his side suffered one of the worst starts to an Ashes match in living memory, scoring just 67, it looked like the writing was on the wall and Australia would take full advantage of that nightmare effort by the hosts. The Aussies did make their opponents pay, scoring 179, but it wasn’t as bad for the home team as it could’ve been and that score left the backdoor ajar, ever so slightly. There was still a lot of work to do and when Oz, desperate to make a point and put the game beyond their great rivals, fired 246 it looked like it was game over.
The visitors then had to see things about and confirm the win, but they couldn’t do it. A couple of unforced errors, fumbles and missed opportunities gave England encouragement and when they sent out Ben Stokes the player was asked to do what he could to make the final score something approaching respectable. No one was expecting miracles, but a sporting miracle was exactly what we got. Ashes history is littered with dramatic tales of the unexpected and followers settled down on Sunday to watch one of the most famous of them. Ben Stokes didn’t only keep the scores respectable, he smashed England to the most unlikely victory.
It Shouldn’t Have Come as a Surprise
It came as a real surprise, even to the hardcore England cricket fans, but performances this summer tell us it probably shouldn’t have been that big a shock. Stokes was the hero in the 50 overs play we saw at this year’s ICC Cricket World Cup in England, leading his men to the narrowest of victories over New Zealand in the final. If England could’ve picked anyone to step up at the end and win it for them, the super confident and in form Ben Stokes would’ve been everyone’s selection.
The benefit of hindsight is a beautiful thing in sport, but everything was set up perfectly for Stokes to go and win in for the locals. Having said that, the target set for him was so unlikely as he collected his bat, there wasn’t a person in attendance that expected him to do it, and we’re sure even Stoke himself thought it was highly unlikely. He got off to a fast start, showing Australia he meant business, and with every run, the crowd started to believe. They went from interested bystanders to believers, standing up and roaring Stokes on as he added run after run to the scoreboard. Having enjoyed the drama of that World Cup final win over New Zealand, surely, he wasn’t about to do it again? Was he? There has never been a better time to follow English cricket and Sunday’s win was one for those who have been loyal to the cause for years as well as new faces.
Worthy of Winning Any Test Match
It was one of the best innings sports fans have witnessed in many years and it was one more than worthy of winning an Ashes Test Match. England faced a record chase mark of 359 and they put a dent in that number before Stokes was joined by the last man available to the hosts, Jack Leach. By that point, the impossible had become possible but 73 was needed and that wasn’t going to be easy. Leach was there in support, but all eyes were on Stokes and his incredible solo effort.
Stokes smacked home three sixes on the bounce and was as consistent as ever as he added a four and another couple of sixes when challenged by Josh Hazlewood. That took him over the century mark and the crowd went wild. He might just be able to save this, they said, and they were right. If you thought things were tense at this stage, it was nothing to wait came next. With only two runs needed, Jack Leach looked like he had been caught out, but Lyon fumbled the ball at a crucial stage and the home fans camped in the stands breathed a sigh of relief.
Stokes got one of the two needed and, with one to go, he did it in the kind of style young players spend their practice session dreaming about. He rattled the ball into the covers and sparked scenes of wild celebrations amongst England players and fans. It was as if England had won the Ashes outright. That’s still to be decided, but who would bet against them now?
Stokes Achievement Hadn’t Settled in Yet
The importance of that performance took a while to hit Ben Stokes and he said as much when speaking to the hordes of waiting press at the end of the match. The hero said it hadn’t quite sunk in yet what he had done, and he didn’t think it fully would hit home until he had rested up and got the chance to reflect on the day. Stokes added that he didn’t feel nervous out there until the target was in single figures, but he always knew what had to be done. It’s never over until it’s over, he reminded fans and maybe a few teammates.
Stokes may not have been in a mood to have all the praise heaped on him at that stage by fellow players, pundits and the media were only too happy to rave about one of the best batting performances in the Ashes we’ve ever seen. England captain Joe Root labelled Ben Stokes a freak and a man who is capable of winning a game at this level on his own. The captain was quick to remind everyone, without taking the shine off the day, that there were still two Test Matches to play before the Ashes series was over. He’ll be keen for the team and fans to enjoy the 3rd Test Match win but remember there’s still work to do if they want to claim glory in the series.
Australia’s Tim Paine was upset about the result, as you could imagine, but was more than happy to give England and Ben Stokes the credit they deserved. The visiting captain called it one of the greatest innings he had ever seen, adding that Stokes played out of his skin. He confirmed it stung him and his fellow Australia players but was experienced enough to admit these things happen and the tourists will regroup and they trust their process and the players. He took confidence from the fact they went very close to victory and collecting a 2-0 series lead, undone only by a piece of magic that doesn’t come around very often. If the teams found themselves in a similar situation another nine times, it’s highly unlikely England would be able to repeat the feat. It was something the Aussies had to take on the chin, learn from and move on. We’re sure they’ll do exactly that, and the fourth Test Match will be one to watch, we’re sure of that.
Full House Expected for 4th Test Match
The fourth Test Match in this summer’s Ashes series takes place on Wednesday 4 September at Old Trafford and we’re scheduled for another 11am GMT start time. The result and performance on Sunday will ensure we see another full house, with England fans flocking to watch the all-important fourth test. Those who can’t make it along to the venue can watch the game live on Sky Sports. Follow our swing, run and bowl live throughout the course of the Test Match or catch up later that evening thanks to the highlights show that brings followers up to speed on the main talking points of the day, perfect for those unable to watch live due to work commitments.
Major UK bookmakers have done the hard work to ensure we can also enjoy a bet on the action. The trading teams have reacted to the increased levels of interest in this one and they lay on a feast of exciting betting markets. Ramp up your enjoyment by betting on the winner of the 4th Test Match or play one of the specials, such as top England batsman, bowler, the player to score most runs for Australia or the visitor who will be responsible for taking most English wickets. Watching live Ashes cricket is exciting stuff, as was proven beyond all doubt on Sunday, but it can’t quite compare to betting on the action and making a profit from the play.
You can get your cash down before the start of the latest Test Match, backing your opinions with hard cash, or get involved at any stage thanks to in-play betting. Many of the most popular pre-match markets remain live throughout the course of play with the odds updated to keep pace with the game. Sunday’s win for England is a perfect example of how you can use in play betting to your advantage. You could’ve got your hands on a big price for England if you were shrewd enough to predict them turning things around. That’s an extreme example but pay close enough attention to the live play on TV and you may just uncover a slice of value.
Traders Side with England
Betting for the 4th Test Match has England as favourites but there’s not a lot between the sides in what will be a competitive market. Punters who expect the locals to take a series lead for the first time this summer will find Betfair handing out market best price and there’s 11/10 available, better than the even money offered by most other firms at the time of writing. Fancy Australia to bounce back and go 2-1 ahead? Backers will get 6/4 on the away win and there’s a chunky 5/1 at bet365 for a draw. The latter would set up a tense final test, with the scores sitting at one win each and a couple of draws.
Ben Stokes was head and shoulders above everyone on the park last time and he’ll be a popular choice for those betting on the man of the match market again. A repeat performance is 8/1 when taking advantage of the generosity shown by bet365. That makes him second favourite behind Smith at 6/1 and one spot ahead of Root who can be backed at 9/1. Others on the list include Archer and Anderson, both 9/1, and Broad who is 10/1.