Gutsy Stokes stands tall again in absorbing session

The highlight of yet another thrilling Headingley Test session was Ben Stokes’ heroic effort, which enabled England to keep the first innings deficit at 26. Stokes rallied with the tail despite not being at full strength to make some key runs before Australia increased their lead to 55 by the half. After England’s poor performance in the morning session, Stokes was the only player to rally the team.

The session got off to an amazing start thanks to Mark Wood’s six on the first ball. Mitchell Starc again kept it short after England’s terrible showing earlier in the day. The Headingley crowd eventually erupted as the batsman hit the following two deliveries for four and six runs, respectively. The joy came to an end when Pat Cummins stopped Wood’s third six with a top edge. Wood’s 8-ball 24, though, significantly cut the gap, giving England some hope.

Following that wicket, Stokes and Stuart Broad once more worked together to try to destabilise Australia. Stokes ended Starc over by scoring three goals in a row, and he added a fourth in Cummins’ subsequent over. As the runs began to come in, Broad sprinted back and whacked one over extra cover. Australia worsened the situation by dropping Stokes twice off consecutive deliveries, much to the delight of the crowd.

Steve Smith skillfully caught the subsequent short ball that Cummins fired his way, bringing him his sixth wicket.

When Ollie Robinson had to play in the center due to an injury. It put pressure on Stokes to fulfill a duty that he is accustomed to. Stokes, who was older and having trouble due to a lower back condition, hit Todd Murphy twice for consecutive sixes. 

The gap dropped below 40 in a surprising amount of time, surprising the guests. It was crucial that those direct hits had a big effect. Smith eventually caught Stokes close to the boundary after Stokes had five times successfully loosened Murphy’s ropes. It was his sixth catch in his 100th Test. Australia led by just 26 runs going into the second innings, similar to the first Test, making it almost a battle of the second innings.

When Stuart Broad, David Warner’s arch-enemy, sent him back to the pavilion early (for the 17th time), the English fans were even happier.

Warner, similar to his failure in the first innings, edged Broad’s delivery behind and the fielder at slip caught him.Marnus Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja played the challenging portion of the game before the tea break.

For England, the upcoming championship game will be critical.

Brief scores:

Australia 263 & 29/1 (Usman Khawaja 20*; Stuart Broad 1/9) lead England 237 (Ben Stokes 80; Pat Cummins 6/91) by 55 runs

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