England captain Joe Root says Ben Stokes’ performance was “outrageous” as the all-rounder led his side to a historic Ashes Test win at Headingley.
Stokes scored a stunning unbeaten 135, hitting eight sixes, and shared a last-wicket stand of 76 with Jack Leach to lead England to a dramatic one-wicket win over Australia.
The tourists looked destined to retain the urn for much of the afternoon in Leeds but the 28-year-old’s heroics have levelled the five-match series at 1-1 with two games to play, and Root was fulsome in his praise of his vice-captain.
“That was just incredible,” he said. “To try and sum that up in words is pretty much impossible. Outrageous batting.
“[Stokes] has got history, he’s got that in the bank and he had to call upon all that from the World Cup but to stay as calm, composed and calculated and in the moment as he did was so impressive.
“It shows a great amount of skill, courage and belief in his own ability. It’s a fabulous marker to show that you’re always in the game and should never give up.”
Root also paid tribute to Leach’s performance as the spinner faced 17 balls, scoring only one run but playing a vital role.
“The fact that he is so calm to be able to take off his glasses and clean them between balls, he’s very much in the moment and he was a big part of that partnership,” Root added.
“It takes two guys, regardless of how big a role you play, you’ve both got to be in it and he certainly did a fantastic job. I’m still trying to get my head around it. Amazing.
“We said at the start of the day, ‘we just have to believe’ and while two people are alive and breathing, we have a chance.