Ben Stokes, the England captain, is confident that England can win the Ashes after their three-wicket win over Australia, at Headingley, on Sunday. Having lost the first two Tests, England needed to win all the rest of the games of the five-match series in order to win back the urn as well.
“Another down-to-the wire game,” Ben Stokes said after the game. “Nice to get over the line and keep our hopes alive. It is obviously really big in the context of the series. We knew we needed to win this Test to keep alive our hopes of winning the Ashes, so it’s a good win. 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… knowing that it’s another close game but we’ve got over the line in this one.”
He continued: “The first two didn’t go our way. If you flip it round and we didn’t win this one and it’s tight again, you would think it’s just not meant to be. We’re obviously over the moon that we won this one but it’s just the start of what we know we need to do.”
Ben Stokes also gave the credit to the performances put up by Mark Wood, Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali who did exceptionally well and helped England to return into the race. Notably, these three had brought to the side for the third Test. Woakes, who hadn’t played a Test since March 2022, claimed six wickets in the match before playing a crucial knock in the fourth innings, finishing unbeaten on 32 – which included a 59-run stand with Harry Brook before an unbeaten 24-run partnership with Mark Wood.
“We brought Woody and Woakes back in and it’s great when decisions like that impact the game. That’s what we look at, what impact can players have and how can we use them. All three of those guys did that this week. I didn’t even look at the fact that it’s been so long since he (Chris Woakes) had played red-ball,” Ben Stokes said. “He’s a quality performer. He’s Mr Consistent. Having someone who can bat like the can at No. 8 is a massive help, and when the ball’s doing a bit in the air or off the pitch he’s massively in the game.”
Mark Wood was also impressive with his pace, especially in the first innings, where he returned a fifer. He then played two cameos with the bat lower down the order, hitting four sixes in his 16-ball stay at the wicket across two innings as well.
“When you’ve got someone who can come in and bowl 95mph, it’s a massive help,” Ben Stokes further said. “It impacts the game, whether he’s taking wickets at one end or they come at the other. Great to see him smiling, running in and bowling rockets. And with the bat, he’s a free spirit, and very clear in his mind. He walked out knowing how he wanted to take the game on, doesn’t always come off but it gives you a better chance. Mo always wants to impact the game, he said to Brendon last night that he wanted to take them on and have a crack at No. 3. Felt like he could have an impact up the order.”