Ben Stokes blasted 135 and helped England secure a tense one-wicket win against Australia in Leeds. (Image credit: Getty Images)
During the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, there were a lot of comparisons for the Pakistan cricket team when they were making progress. The progress of the Pakistan cricket team in 2019 was very similar to the one in the 1992 World Cup. After losing to West Indies, they defeated England and their next match against Sri Lanka was abandoned. After losing to Australia and India, Pakistan won their next games against South Africa, New Zealand, Afghanistan and Bangladesh and it mirrored their success in 1992, where they won all their games after winning only one out of five games. The comparisons are back in cricket, this time for the Ashes contest.
Ben Stokes' brilliant, unbeaten 135 helped England secure a thrilling one-wicket win against Australia in Leeds. The comeback win for England is simply remarkable after they were bowled out for 67, the lowest total at home for the hosts in Ashes contest since 1948. England seemed to be down and out when they were reduced to 286/9 but Stokes shared a brilliant 76-run stand with Jack Leach for the final wicket as the hosts squared the series in style.
Many social media users, cricket fans and other analysts are comparing Ben Stokes' effort with that of Sir Ian Botham, who had blasted 149 and helped England revive their fortunes at the same venue in 1981. However, the comparisons go much deeper than that. In 1981, Australia had won the first Test in Trent Bridge by four wickets while the second Test in Lord's ended in a tense draw. In the third Test, England were following on but Sir Ian Botham blasted 149 in the second innings and Bob Willis took 8/43 as England registered a remarkable 18-run win. England leveled the series 1-1 after three Tests.
The progress in 2019 is eerily similar. Australia won the Edgbaston Test by 251 runs while the Lord's Test ended in a thrilling draw with only four wicket remaining. In Leeds, Australia had almost retained the Ashes on England soil but a devastating knock from Stokes ensured England leveled the series in Headingley.
In 1981, Botham produced remarkable all-round performances with both bat and ball to help England win the next two Tests and win the series 3-1. With Stokes having produced a knock of similar impact in Leeds, will England go for the kill against an Australia side which will be thoroughly deflated after the carnage in Leeds?