England’s third Test keeps Ashes hopes alive

A defiant Pat Cummins insists Australia have not ceded momentum to England in the Ashes, despite missing the chance to secure the urn with a three-wicket defeat in a thrilling third Test.

Jul 10, 2023, updated Jul 10, 2023
England's Chris Woakes celebrates the third Test win. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire

England's Chris Woakes celebrates the third Test win. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire

England kept the series alive on Sunday by claiming the tense win at Headingley, chasing down 251 to deny Australia and an on-song Mitchell Starc.

Harry Brook was the hero for England with 75, before Chris Woakes and Mark Wood put on 21 for the eighth wicket to seal the match midway through day four.

The result leaves the series scoreline 2-1 in Australia’s favour, with two Tests to play at Old Trafford and The Oval on July 19 and 27 respectively.

Cummins was adamant Australia remained in control when asked if England now had the momentum headed into Manchester.

“No it’s not really shifted,” Cummins said.

“It’s 2-1. Every Test you start from fresh.”

In the latest thrilling chapter of this enthralling series, Starc threatened to bowl Australia to victory and their first series win in England since 2001 with 5-78.

“He was fantastic,” Cummins said.

“He’s just becoming more and more complete of a bowler every time he plays out here. As a captain, it’s a luxury to have a left-armer who’s in that control of his skill and pace.”

The left-armer first removed Ben Duckett and the elevated No.3 Moeen Ali to start the day, before breathing life back in the contest after lunch.

When England looked in control with 90 runs needed and six wickets in hand, Starc strangled their miracle man Ben Stokes down legside on 13, having him caught behind.

Two overs later it was Jonny Bairstow who chopped on against Starc, as the English veteran’s underwhelming series continued.

Another 80 runs were required, with four wickets in hand.

Cummins hit the shoulder of the bat twice in one over, but both times the ball fell safely. Suddenly, the margin was down to 60. Then 40.

But as has been the case all series, there was another sting in the tail.

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With 21 still required, it was Starc who struck again when Brook tried to upper-cut a short ball after being so composed all day.

The ball skied to Cummins, who held on to it with Starc bearing down on him and the pair colliding as they both went to claim the catch.

Australia were back in the match but for the first time this summer, the hosts were able to win the big moments.

Wood hooked Cummins for six to reduce the margin to 12, but then offered a chance with four to win when he top-edged the Australian quick towards fly slip.

Scott Boland should have been the man to run in and take the catch, but instead Alex Carey turned around and chased back.

The ball hit the ground and any hope of Australia’s own miracle of Headingley was up.

Woakes slashed the last ball of the 50th over for the winning four, finishing 32 not out himself in his first Test for almost 16 months.

“If you look at the first two games in terms of how tight they were, getting over the line in another tight game can mentally help,” Stokes said.

“Because if you flip it round and we didn’t win this one and it’s tight again, you sort of think, ‘it’s just not meant to be’.

“Obviously we’re over the moon, but it’s just the start of what we know we need to do.”

For Australia, they must now wait another 10 days to try and claim a drought-breaking series victory in England.


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