In the chase of an England-record 359 at a delirious Headingley, the home side still needed 73 when Stokes was joined by last man Leach.
What happened next will go down as one of the greatest finishes ever.
The final wicket stand of 76 was the third highest in the history of first class cricket – Leach scored one but will dine out on that for life.
Incredibly the shell-shocked Aussies dropped a catch, fumbled a run-out, messed up two boundary chases and wasted a DRS which effectively cost them when Stokes was plumb lbw with England still needing two runs to win it.
It was pure sporting drama. You call them swear words. I call them sentence enhancers and many were shouted with joy as the miracle unfolded.
But Stokes’ heroics paper over the cracks. Remember that first innings? I know it’s horrifying but no pain, no gain.
With The Ashes on the line and chasing just 136 the hosts were all out for an embarrassingly pathetic SIXTY-SEVEN in their worst total against the Aussies in 71 YEARS!
Every batsman bar Joe Root – who waited until later to disgrace himself by dropping the easiest of catches – were so bad it hurt the eyes.
There were too many frustrating and all too familiar dismissals from Jason Roy, Rory Burns, Joe Denly and Jos Buttler in particular.
Denly’s 12 was the lowest ‘highest’ score in an England innings but all that was forgotten when for the first time in 132 years a team won a Test after getting bowled out for less than 70 – since England were skittled for 45 in 1887 down in Sydney.
The gutted Aussies will be boosted by the return of talisman Steve Smith for the Fourth Test, while Jimmy Anderson is set to feature for the hosts.
There is only one humiliation in cricket worse that being bowled out for 67 and that is losing to a team you bowled out for 67. What that does mentally to a team we will find out at old Trafford – and let’s hope it does bad, bad things!
THREE games in and already half of football fans wish the new technology could be sent to a Galaxy VAR VAR Away.
A week after Manchester City thought they had grabbed a well-deserved three points at the death against Tottenham, the champions were denied a clear penalty against Bournemouth.
Anger is one letter short of danger and Pep Guardiola is increasingly hopping mad on the touchline.
The Spaniard picked up the first managerial yellow card of the season in the Community Shield – yes the Community Shield!
He has continued to wage a war against the world. City’s hierarchy and fans will hope the danger of history repeating itself with burnout and their gifted manager walking away doesn’t materialise.
But it seems a tad hypocritical that Guardiola moans like crazy when VAR seemingly goes against his team – like the trip on David Silva in the 3-1 win against the Cherries – but at the same time conveniently forgets when it goes for him.
Last season’s title race was massively influenced by a marginally correct goal-line technology call that went City’s way. Without this advancement the Liverpool goal that John Stones brilliantly cleared off the line by 11mm would have been given by any referee using just their eyes.
There were also benefits from multiple wrong off-sides like Raheem Sterling versus Watford plus penalties being given incorrectly due to diving – Bernardo Silva against West Ham – or not given like Fernandinho’s handball that went against Wolves.
And there were also the times when players (Vincent Kompany x 3, David Silva) should have seen red but got away with it, including the biggest game of the season after half hour versus Liverpool, plus Sergio Aguero scoring with his arm against Arsenal.
Pep’s itching for something he won’t scratch and to add to his woes the only genuine rivals to their title – Liverpool -are the only side that can boast three wins from three.
Jurgen Klopp’s men set a new club record of 12 PL victories in a row as they blitzed Arsenal 3-1.
Mo Salah has played in 77 Premier League games for Liverpool and after this weekend’s double he has been involved in 77 goals – scoring 57 and assisting 20. That’s phenomenal stats. The Egyptian made an absolute mug out of David Luiz, winning a penalty off him for a stupid tug of his shirt and then roasting him for skill and speed for the third.
I don’t understand Luiz’s specific type of crazy but I do admire his total commitment to it.
AND finally everyone seems to be missing the point in the Paul Pogba versus Marcus Rashford penalty debate.
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted before the Wolves miss that he had named both men as designated takers.
When pressed why, he said the reason was it was up to the players to decide who felt more confident on the day/night. Then after Pogba fluffed his lines he tore the Frenchman a new one and said they should have decided BEFORE kick-off.
How can players decide who is in a good moment before a ball has been kicked? It’s a total nonsense. It makes as much sense as pizza boxes being square.
A week later and it was Rashford’s turn to miss in the 2-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace. Solskjaer is already fast running out of excuses.