On this day in 2019: Ben Stokes seals an Ashes win for the ages

Ben Stokes wrote himself into the history books with one of the all-time great Test innings on this day in 2019.

The all-rounder struck an incredible 135 not out to lead England to a thrilling win over Australia in the third Ashes Test at Headingley, the home side completing a record run chase of 362 for nine.

Australia looked to be on the verge of retaining the urn after reducing the hosts to 286 for nine, but an unforgettable last-wicket union between Stokes and Jack Leach – who contributed one in an unbroken 76-run partnership – turned the tide.

England's Jack Leach, left, and Ben Stokes celebrate victory at Headingley in 2019
England’s Jack Leach, left, and Ben Stokes celebrate victory at Headingley in 2019 (Tim Goode/PA)

It came barely a month after another memorable Stokes innings helped England to World Cup glory at Lord’s and will go down in the annals of time.

Stokes hit eight sixes and 11 fours as he single-handedly hauled his side over the finish line when defeat had previously looked a certainty, with England having been bowled out for 67 in their first innings.

“I’m obviously over the moon that we’ve managed to stay in the series. We knew if we lost this game then the Ashes were gone,” Stokes said.

“When a number 11 comes out needing 70 to win, I knew what I had to do in terms of the game situation. The only time I started to get a little bit nervous or panicking was when we got into single figures.

“To be sat here, especially after getting bowled out for 67, to still be in with a chance of getting the urn back is an amazing feeling.”

In the end, Stokes’ innings did not count for much in the series as defeat at Old Trafford in the following game meant Australia retained the Ashes, with the series eventually drawn 2-2.

But Stokes won huge acclaim for his performance, winning the BBC Sports Personality of the Year four months later and cementing himself into Ashes folklore.