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Ben Stokes's top five unforgettable Test matches: 100 up.
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Ben Stokes’s top five unforgettable Test matches: 100 up.

The second test was held at Perth in 2013 against Australia.

The Australian team won by a margin of 150 runs, with a score of 18 and 120 against 1-63 and 2-82.

Not every victory requires winning. Despite England’s crushing 5-0 loss in Australia, which destroyed one of their strongest teams, there was a silver lining: it marked Ben Stokes’ debut series. While his teammates were defeated, Stokes, known for his red hair and feisty attitude, fearlessly entered the intense world of Test cricket and brought new energy to the game. Initially underestimated by Australia, Stokes proved them wrong with a remarkable fourth-innings century at the Waca. He displayed textbook straight drives, confidently faced off against the intimidating Mitchell Johnson, and briefly gave England hope of chasing a target of 504. Though they ultimately fell short, Stokes earned something even more valuable than an Ashes win: the unwavering respect of every player who has worn the Baggy Green.

Ben Stokes guides the ball past a diving Steve Smith on his way to a defiant century on the final day at the Waca.

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Tenth test: England versus New Zealand at Lord’s in 2015.

92 & 101, 0-105 & 3-38 (England won by 124 runs)

The match between England and New Zealand at Lord’s was a significant moment for the Gods, as England managed to overcome a large deficit and win. This was also the first time that the term “Bazball” was used, despite the sport not yet existing. Stokes, known for his bold playing style, emerged as the match-winner with his impressive score of 92 on the first day. This helped England recover from a poor start of 30 for four and reach a total of 389. Although they still trailed by 134 runs in the first innings, Stokes’ remarkable century, achieved in just 85 balls, changed the course of the match and the nation’s perception of the team. They had previously faced criticism but were now seen in a more positive light. On the final day, Stokes made a crucial impact by dismissing two key players, Kane Williamson and Brendon McCullum, with back-to-back deliveries. This was just one of many defining moments in his successful Test career where he proved to be a game-changer.

Stokes celebrates the crucial wicket of Kane Williamson at Lord’s.

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The 55th test match between Australia and England took place at Headingley in 2019.

England won the match by one wicket, with a score of 8 runs and 135 balls remaining, while their opponents had 1 run and 45 balls remaining.

Nietzsche would have been fond of Ben Stokes. He consistently demonstrates resilience and personal growth in times of difficulty. The legal case in Bristol taught him valuable lessons and his father’s passing gave him a perspective and professional mindset that could make him incredibly successful. The 2016 World T20 final, where Carlos Brathwaite hit four sixes to win, had a significant impact on Stokes. It did not define him as a bowler, but rather shaped him as a batsman. This experience showed him the power of taking a game to its limit, and how the unimaginable can become reality. Stokes discovered that he thrives in high-pressure situations, displaying a remarkable skill that sets him apart from other players. Just six weeks after his remarkable performance in the 2019 World Cup final, Stokes once again delivered a miracle at Headingley to keep the Ashes alive. His innings was one for the history books, with his scoring accelerating dramatically towards the end. He formed a partnership with Jack Leach, hitting seven powerful yet calculated sixes. Before his incredible batting display, Stokes also took three wickets in a spell of 24.2 overs, with Jofra Archer bowling just four deliveries. His perseverance and dedication were evident throughout, as he bounced back from a poor first-innings shot. Stokes’ marathon performance was driven by determination, perhaps with a touch of self-sacrifice, and undoubtedly a lot of self-criticism. He also played a crucial role in England’s victory by taking three wickets for 56 runs, making their target almost within reach.

England batsman Ben Stokes (centre right) and Jack Leach celebrate winning the match during day four of the Third Ashes test at Headingley in August 2019.

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61st Test Match: Against South Africa in Cape Town, 2020

The match between England and their opponent ended with a final score of 47 and 72, with 0-34 and 3-35 for each team respectively. England emerged victorious with a lead of 189 runs.

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Assessing Stokes based on numbers is misguided, much like attempting to quantify love. In the 2020 Cape Town Test, he ranked third in runs scored and tied for fourth in wickets taken, and was rightfully named the player of the match. While he has had many impressive performances, such as his record-breaking 258 in 2016, it ultimately did not result in a win for England. However, in a selfless move, Stokes’ aggressive 72 off 47 balls set up a declaration and allowed teammate Dom Sibley to comfortably score his first Test century. The next day, Stokes single-handedly led England to victory by taking the last three wickets in the final hour of the match. Known for his clutch performances, Stokes has often been the deciding factor in close games for England. It is worth noting that in Test victories, his batting and bowling averages are only slightly better than his overall career record, but significantly improve in second innings. This may not hold the same weight as the concept of love for England fans, but it does represent some of their most cherished memories.

England bowler Ben Stokes celebrates after Anrich Nortje is caught at slip at the second attempt by Zac Crawley during day five of the Second Test against South Africa at Newlands in January 2020.

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The 87th Test match between Australia and Pakistan will take place in Rawalpindi in 2022.

England defeated by 74 runs, with a score of 41-0 and 0-35 & 1-69.

Stokes should have been named the player of the match once again, but he did not contribute much with his batting or bowling. England’s incredible victory in injury time, on a pitch that was so flat it could have resulted in a draw in a timeless Test, showcased Stokes’s strategic brilliance and unwavering positivity. Nasser Hussain declared it as the best five days of captaincy he had ever witnessed. The match saw a total of 1,768 runs, a record for a Test match with a positive outcome. Despite being affected by a virus, England managed to score an astonishing 506 runs on the first day in just 75 overs; it was like Bazball on metaphorical steroids. In the field, Stokes trusted his instincts and went against conventional tactics. Some of his unconventional methods for taking wickets included setting up an umbrella field, using leg slip instead of orthodox, and refusing the new ball. He did not allow the match to become stagnant and kept his mind constantly engaged throughout the game. When Jack Leach, who had transformed into a wicket-taking spinner under Stokes’s leadership, sealed the win with only a few minutes remaining, England had eight men surrounding the bat and the wicketkeeper.

Ben Stokes of England celebrates as he leaves the field after winning the first test against Pakistan at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium in December 2022.View image in fullscreen

Source: theguardian.com