How Trevor Bayliss kept England focused for World Cup finals

By July 16, 2019
Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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  • Ashes 2019: Stokes knock as good as anything I've seen in Tests - Ponting Ashes 2019: Stokes knock as good as anything I've seen in Tests - Ponting

    Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting said Ben Stokes' remarkable innings was as good as anything he has seen in Test cricket, as England levelled the Ashes in sensational circumstances.

    England were 286-9 in pursuit of 359 at Headingley and staring down the barrel of a 2-0 deficit that would have seen Australia retain the urn with two matches to spare.

    But Stokes played one of the great Test innings and his unbeaten 135 steered England to the unlikeliest of one-wicket victories in front a pumped-up crowd on Sunday.

    Ponting was effusive in his praise when assessing Stokes' performance on Sky Sports and stated the all-rounder did not get one decision wrong.

    "I'm not sure I've seen anything better than that on a Test ground, to be honest," he said. 

    "He scored two off 64 balls, but we always felt that if he was there then England were going to be in with a chance to win.

    "Deep down he knew that as well. He wanted to be the man to be there at the end regardless of how long it took.

    "Some of that hitting today - when it was 73 to win and nine down - he had to go there and then he pulled it off. That was brilliant.

    "Decision-making plays such a big part in any innings that you play. He got every decision right today under extreme pressure - the way that he hit the boundaries and maintained the strike."

    The fourth Test begins at Old Trafford on September 4, with the series now locked at 1-1.

  • Ashes 2019: England must take inspiration from saviour Stokes - Root Ashes 2019: England must take inspiration from saviour Stokes - Root

    Joe Root says Ben Stokes' heroics against Australia must act as a marker for his team-mates in the remainder of the Ashes.

    England levelled the 2019 series at 1-1 with a dramatic one-wicket win at Headingley on Sunday that owed much to a masterful 135 not out from all-rounder Stokes.

    Captain Root had helped set the platform for the victory with 77 but, when Jos Buttler was run out following a mix-up with Stokes, England's hopes of keeping the series alive looked slim.

    Australia were on the brink of retaining the Ashes when Stuart Broad fell to James Pattinson but last man Jack Leach made a gritty one not out as Stokes went into one-day mode to see England to their target of 359.

    Stokes was also the star when England lifted the Cricket World Cup earlier this year at Lord's and Root wants England to take inspiration from his latest contribution with two Tests still to play.

    "We said at the start of the day we just had to believe," Root said at the post-match presentation. 

    "We have witnessed some freakish things this summer during the World Cup and I didn't think we would see something so similar happen during the Ashes.

    "It was an incredible game of cricket, an incredible atmosphere, Test cricket is alive and kicking, as is this Ashes series. It is fabulous to be able to stand here, be 1-1 all in this series and take all of this in.

    "To try and sum up Stokes' innings in words is impossible. He has got previous and he has got that in the bank, he had to call upon all that but to stay as calm and collected as he did in the moment it took a great amount of skill, courage and belief in his own ability. It is a fabulous marker for everyone.

    "I am still trying to get my head around everything, it was just amazing. When you are on the right end of these sorts of results it carries a lot of weight. Hopefully it can make a big difference.

    "Ben deserves all the plaudits and adulation that he gets given."

    England and Australia resume the series at Old Trafford for the penultimate Test of the series, with the action starting on September 4.

  • Ashes 2019: Botham hails hero Stokes as Headingley celebrates stunning Test triumph Ashes 2019: Botham hails hero Stokes as Headingley celebrates stunning Test triumph

    Ian Botham hailed Ben Stokes as England's "special one" after his century heroics at Headingley kept the home team alive in the Ashes.

    In a performance that evoked memories of Botham's vintage 1981 innings in Leeds, Stokes tore into the Australian attack to transform a match that looked lost.

    England's hopeless 67 all out in their first innings left them well off the pace, and when Australia set them 359 to pull off victory it looked highly likely to be out of reach.

    When Stuart Broad was ninth man out on 286, England were still 73 short, but Stokes rose to the challenge.

    An innings that was built on a foundation of early patience transformed into a Stokes big-hitting masterclass as he repeatedly heaved Australian bowlers to the boundary, his 135 not out including 11 fours and eight sixes.

    "It takes a remarkable man," Botham said on Sky Sports. "I said this morning that somebody had to front up and somebody has to be strong.

    "I've banged Ben Stokes' drum for a long time now and I know other players, when they've seen him, you think there's something special.

    "He's the special one, he is very, very valuable to cricket full stop, not just England."

    Botham expressed his fear about the future of Test cricket, given the rise of the limited-overs game, but he believes performances such as that of Stokes can draw much-needed attention to the five-day format.

    "Today and maybe every so often you need something really special like that," Botham said. "What he did today, the whole country will be up for it now. You'll see kids playing in every park corner."

    Former England opener Geoffrey Boycott said the "magical" innings was a highlight for him of a life watching cricket, calling it "the best I've seen in over 50 years".

    Shane Warne, Australia's former superstar leg-spinner, said of Stokes: "He's one of those guys you want in the trenches with you.

    "He's one of those guys who trains harder than I've ever seen anyone train.

    "He's an amazing cricketer. He's a special talent. You can have all that but still when the opportunity presents itself you need someone to take it.

    "If you were to choose one guy in that England side to try to get it done like that, you would choose Ben Stokes.

    "But you still have to get it done. It's easy to say all that but to get it done the way he did was just unbelievable."

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