How did England celebrate and what was the reaction Down Under?
The big questions answered as the dust settles on a remarkable day of cricket at Headingley on Sunday.
The Ashes is well and truly alive after Ben Stokes produced one of the all-time great performances to level the series at 1-1.
Here, the PA news agency looks at the key questions going forward:
How did England celebrate?
In the hours after Stokes put the finishing touches to his epic, match-winning 135 not out England lingered in the dressing room at Headingley, toasting their success with a few well-earned beers on the balcony. They later wandered out to the scene of their triumph and there was even a sighting of number 11 Jack Leach recreating the scampered single that tied the scores for his onlooking team-mates.
How long did the party last?
Captain Joe Root was happy for his side to bask in a moment that will live forever in Ashes lore but made one thing clear: the midnight curfew which began after some unwanted headlines on the last tour Down Under would remain in place. Speaking after the match he said: “We have to enjoy what is one of the finest games in Test history. But we still have to be in for 12 and to make sure we don’t give you anything else to write about apart from this game!”
How did the result go down in Australia?
COMMENT | Amid the fawning hero-worship for Ben Stokes, let’s remember one fact: he was out. Bungling umpire Joel Wilson could do with a visit to SpecSavers, writes @walmason. #Ashes19 https://t.co/JYsrPZevbQ— Australian Opinion (@AusOpinion) August 26, 2019
There was overwhelming respect and praise for the man of the moment – not least from Australia captain Tim Paine – but there was a handful of slightly saltier takes emerging overnight, focusing on umpire Joel Wilson’s not out decision when Stokes was lbw to Nathan Lyon with England one run short. Fox Sports led their coverage with the headline “How the hell did that happen? Umpire howler robs fumbling Aussies as Stokes pulls off Ashes miracle” and The Australian offered “Ashes 2019: Ben Stokes was out so 3rd Test heroics should not have counted”.
Was Wilson really wrong after all?
One thing is certain, if Paine had not wasted his side’s last review and used it on Stokes instead, he would have been given out and the urn would be heading back to Australia. But the batsman was defiant when asked about it after the match – insisting initial contact had been with his front pad, not his back pad as the DRS ball-tracker showed. A closer look suggests he might well be right – meaning an even bigger controversy was probably averted.
What next for England?
Re-live one of the greatest days in the history of Test cricket... 🦁🦁🦁 pic.twitter.com/ltPVXWFxBk— England Cricket (@englandcricket) August 26, 2019
Mostly, some well-earned time off. The fourth Test does not begin until September 4 and the squad will be sent home for rest and recuperation. More interesting is the role of the selection panel – Ed Smith, James Taylor, Joe Root and Trevor Bayliss. They must decide whether to bolster a batting order which has been under-performing for some time or seek to capitalise on the feelgood factor from Headingley and keep the same band of brothers together.
So can we expect changes?
Jason Roy and Jos Buttler are the only two batsmen who have yet to make a significant contribution and, if outside assistance is required, Dom Sibley and Ollie Pope are next in line. But it is a bowler, record wicket-taker James Anderson, who is most likely to come in. He has not featured since a calf injury on the first morning of the series but will play for Lancashire 2nd XI this week and is all-but guaranteed to return on his home ground if passed fit.
And what about Australia?
The shell-shocked tourists will be back on the field in a three-day tour match against Derbyshire starting on Thursday. Providing he gets the green light after a concussion absence, star batsman Steve Smith will be making his return and there will be outings for the likes of Mitchell Starc – leading wicket-taker at the recent World Cup but yet to feature in the series – and Mitch Marsh.