When number 11 Jack Leach joined Ben Stokes at the crease in the third Test against , England’s Ashes hopes were all but over.

Joe Root’s side – despite the fervent backing of a passionate Headingley crowd on a sun-kissed bank holiday weekend – were tottering on 286-9, needing an unlikely 73 more runs to complete their highest run-chase in history and prevent from wrapping up a victory that would see them retain the urn with two matches to spare.

Fans were convinced defeat was looming.

How can England cricket depress me so much in a summer we've won the World Cup?

Realistically, England’s only hope of winning rested on the shoulders of all-rounder Ben Stokes.

He, of course, has history in playing match-winning innings – most famously his heroic unbeaten 84 in the World Cup final in July.

After clubbing a couple of sixes off spinner Nathan Lyon, people began to wonder.

Ben Stokes is one hell of a cricketer

More incredible strokeplay from Stokes followed as he hit boundaries to all parts of a raucous Headingley, while also protecting Leach from the majority of the strike.

Something special was brewing…

Matt Prior tweet
Nick Compton tweet on incredible Ben Stokes
An eyes emoji from Michael Vaughan

The runs kept coming and the excitement kept growing for England fans.

The support act for the Stokes show was Leach, who defended stoutly – in between cleaning his glasses.

Tweets about Jack Leach's glasses

It was a fine move by Leach who was writing his own chapter in Ashes folklore – and unwittingly earning himself a lifetime’s supply of gigs in the process…

Specsavers' tweet offering Leach free glasses for life

It was gripping and tense. The nation was holding its collective breath.

Especially when Leach survived an lbw review by and escaped being run-out when Nathan Lyon fluffed his lines…

Stokes should have been given out lbw too – but had already wasted their reviews.

Amid almost unbearable tension and with England needing two to win, Leach collected his first run – off the 17th ball he faced – with a scampered single.

Then Stokes smashed the next delivery from fast bowler through the covers to complete a remarkable turnaround and one of the England’s greatest victories.

Cue bedlam.

England Cricket's winning moment tweet
Graeme Swann's tweet
Ebony Rainford-Brent's tweet about Ben Stokes

Some ing legends were quick to offer their congratulations.

Tweet from Sachin Tendulkar congratulating Ben Stokes
Geoffrey Boycott's tweet about Ben Stokes

And it didn’t take long for England fans to update the Ashes history books via Wikipedia…

Test Match Special's tweet about Ben Stokes and the Ashes
A tweet showing an updated Wikipedia entry on the Ashes

Some were in no doubt that a knighthood beckons.

Gary Lineker tweet

And England bowler Stuart Broad gave us a snapshot from inside the dressing rooms of how Stokes himself was feeling.

Picture of Ben Stokes in the England dressing room.

But of course, just like in the World Cup final, England bowler Jofra Archer had predicted it all along.

Jofra Archer tweet saying 'well played Stokes'


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