Ashes 2019: England and Australia's most thrilling Test tussles after Stokes' Headingley heroics

By Sports Desk August 25, 2019

England and Australia served up another all-time Ashes classic at Headingley as the hosts somehow secured a one-wicket victory to level the series.

Joe Root's team had looked dead and buried, in both the contest and the series, when chasing a record 359 in the third Test.

Still needing another 73 when last man Jack Leach came to the crease, England pulled off a miracle thanks to Ben Stokes' unbeaten 135.

We take a look at other thrilling Ashes Tests after the humdinger at Headingley.

Related items

  • Greenwood bails out Man United as Solskjaer's youngsters struggle to inspire lacklustre colleagues Greenwood bails out Man United as Solskjaer's youngsters struggle to inspire lacklustre colleagues

    Having spent much of his time as Manchester United manager promising to do so, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer finally unleashed the kids in their Europa League opener against Astana.

    Mason Greenwood, Tahith Chong and Angel Gomes were all given their first starts of the season, while Axel Tuanzebe lined up in defence after making only one substitute appearance since returning from a fruitful loan spell.

    As a contest, it certainly was not as straightforward as Solskjaer would have hoped, as United made hard work of overcoming the Kazakh champions.

    Yet Solskjaer's experimenting was just about vindicated by Greenwood getting the only goal of the game 17 minutes from time - the forward bailing out his more experienced team-mates on a frustrating evening at Old Trafford.

    Nevertheless, it was still a mixed outing for United's youngsters. We assess how they fared.

     

    Mason Greenwood

    United's next great hope was making his first start since the 2-0 defeat to Cardiff City on the final day of last season, though this contest will have felt like small fry compared to his only previous European outing, a substitute appearance in the famous 3-1 win at Paris Saint-Germain last term.

    Operating initially from the right, he went extremely close to opening the scoring in the 16th minute after Marcus Rashford's clever flick, drilling a fierce left-footed strike just wide of the top-left corner. Solskjaer said Greenwood was one of the best finishers he has ever seen on Wednesday – it would have been easy to see why had he buried that opportunity.

    However, Solskjaer's need for Greenwood – as United's only back-up striker – to prove a point and get a goal arguably spared the teenager from being taken off instead of Gomes in the second half, having failed to meet expectations.

    The Norwegian's faith ultimately paid off.

    For once, a United player didn't just do the obvious. Greenwood twisted and turned in the area and coolly slotted between the goalkeeper's legs for his first official senior goal, which will surely be a weight off his shoulders.

     

    Angel Gomes

    Almost two-and-a-half years on from his United debut, Gomes was finally awarded a first senior start and he looked eager to impress, dazzling a defender in the first minute before then winning a foul with a clever turn just a few moments later.

    In the first half, Gomes looked the most likely to make something happen creatively, his quick feet winning a couple of free-kicks and providing the only defence-splitting pass just before the half-hour mark when releasing Diogo Dalot, whose subsequent cross was dealt with.

    Gomes' ability in tight spaces continued to look like providing a potential route to goal in the second period – the attacking midfielder drawing fouls and creating space, but United refused to use him as often as they should have.

    In the end, he was somewhat unfortunate to be taken off after generally justifying his selection. The fans will definitely be hoping to see more from Gomes in the coming weeks.

     

    Tahith Chong

    After looking bright as a substitute against Leicester City, it was not a huge surprise to see Netherlands youth international Chong make the starting XI.

    While his display was a little braver than Greenwood's before the break, Chong did show he is still the rawest of the three youngsters in attack.

    His touch was far too heavy on several occasions, while he lacked the power to really trouble the Astana defence, one early run aside.

    He was unsurprisingly withdrawn for Jesse Lingard in the second half, having been largely disappointing.

     

    Axel Tuanzebe

    Following a solid season on loan at Aston Villa, Tuanzebe has moved well up the pecking order at Old Trafford and was a commanding presence on his first start for the club since May 2017.

    The 21-year-old showed an effective blend of physicality and technical ability, one first-half moment typifying that when he recovered to outpace and outmuscle Dorin Rotariu, before taking the ball back and dribbling forward after the Romanian had flicked the ball over his head.

    Otherwise Tuanzebe had little defending to do, with the centre-back often stepping forward into midfield given United's dominance, but his solidity was highlighted by the fact he won 75 per cent of his 16 duels.

     

  • Rugby World Cup 2019: Can England, Ireland, South Africa or Wales reign? Ranking the contenders to dethrone the All Blacks Rugby World Cup 2019: Can England, Ireland, South Africa or Wales reign? Ranking the contenders to dethrone the All Blacks

    It may not prove to be the case in the long run, but New Zealand feel a little vulnerable going into the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

    Having failed to win this year's shortened version of the Rugby Championship, the All Blacks are no longer the top-ranked side prior to the tournament in Japan.

    Admittedly, they have not suffered a World Cup defeat since 2007, when they were stunned by France in a quarter-final in Cardiff. Their pedigree, plus their strength in depth, means Steve Hansen's side deserve to be considered the favourites.

    Still, there is a glimmer of hope for the rest of the rugby heavyweights. The question is: who is best placed to dethrone the champions? 

     

    1. SOUTH AFRICA

    Could the Springboks be peaking at just the right time? They won the Rugby Championship for the fourth time this year and, after a shocking start against Japan, came as close as any nation to ending New Zealand's march towards a second straight World Cup in 2015. An early crack at the All Blacks in their Pool B opener will give them the chance to land a potentially telling blow. Also, the Boks ruled the world in 1995 and 2007. Now, 12 years on from their previous success, will the trend be repeated? They deserve to be viewed as the main contenders to the defending champions.

    2. ENGLAND

    It cannot possibly go any worse than four years ago, right? Eddie Jones – who was in charge of the Japan team that upset the Boks in Brighton in 2015 – is at the helm and the schedule has aided their campaign, as they have Tonga and the United States in their opening two fixtures in Pool C, giving them a chance to iron out any issues before they round out the stage by facing Argentina and France. The talismanic Owen Farrell is the key – and not just because of his outstanding kicking off the tee.

    3. WALES

    Warren Gatland could finish his spell in charge by doing a Six Nations Grand Slam and World Cup double. The Kiwi reached the semi-finals in 2011 and then the quarters four years ago. The reason they are not rated higher, however, is the list of absentees. Flanker Taulupe Faletau and fly-half Gareth Anscombe are missing due to injuries, scrum-half Rhys Webb is unavailable due to selection rules and attack coach Rob Howley has returned home over an alleged betting breach.

    4. IRELAND

    Like several of his counterparts, Joe Schmidt's tenure comes to an end with the World Cup. His final Six Nations did not go quite to plan, but Ireland top the world rankings, defeated New Zealand less than a year ago (in a game where the mighty All Blacks failed to score a try) and have plenty of experience in their squad. Much will depend on the form and fitness of fly-half Johnny Sexton - can he help the team recapture the form they displayed in 2018? While Pool A looks to be plain sailing, they face the prospect of New Zealand or South Africa in the last eight.

    5. AUSTRALIA

    The beaten finalists from four years ago will be relying on experience to go one better than 2015. Michael Cheika has often seemed on the brink as their head coach, but he raised hopes by beating New Zealand 47-26 in Perth in August. Still, they lost the rematch 36-0 on the road and are minus their leading strike weapon in Israel Folau, who is locked in a legal dispute with the Australia Rugby Union following his sacking for comments on social media. Without him, they will be more workmanlike than eye-catching in attack. 

    6. SCOTLAND

    Scotland are in a pool that, apart from Ireland, looks softer than some of the alternative options. They will not take hosts Japan for granted in their final round-robin fixture and, if they do progress, will have to cause an upset against either New Zealand or South Africa in the next round. Gregor Townsend has plenty of World Cup experience from his playing days, but this is his first in charge of the national team - expect the Scots to be in some highly entertaining contests but the last four looks a long shot.

    7. ARGENTINA

    Los Pumas languish outside the top 10 in the rankings but have made the semi-finals at two of the last three World Cups. The reason they are listed so low here, though, is their group. Only two can progress and having been drawn alongside England and France, Argentina face a challenge to make the quarters. Mario Ledesma's squad is dominated by players from Jaguares, who reached the Super Rugby final for the first time this year, but will lean on the Stade Francais' Nicolas Sanchez to provide control.

    8. FRANCE

    There was a time when France were the team you wanted to avoid in the knockout stages (just ask New Zealand 12 years ago, while they only won the 2011 final 8-7 against Les Bleus). Yet this current bunch are not living up to previous versions, with a distinct lack of flair put down to a domestic game now dominated by big-name overseas recruits occupying key positions. Sure, France have turned it on for the big occasion in the past, but the 2019 squad should concentrate first on making it out of their pool.

    AND THE REST...

    Japan have improved since 2015. Italy? Not so much. The hosts can justifiably think a quarter-final slot is within reach, but the Azzurri look doomed in Pool B alongside the All Blacks and the Boks. Currently placed inside the world's top 10, Fiji will likely have to beat one of Australia or Wales just to make it out of their group. The other nations will hope for damage limitation against the big boys and aim to take points off each other in their remaining fixtures. 

  • Sri Lanka spinner Dananjaya banned over illegal bowling action Sri Lanka spinner Dananjaya banned over illegal bowling action

    Sri Lanka spinner Akila Dananjaya has been banned from bowling in international cricket for 12 months after his action was ruled illegal.

    An independent assessment determined his delivery method contained a technical flaw, the International Cricket Council confirmed.

    Dananjaya was reported for a suspect bowling action during the first Test between Sri Lanka and New Zealand, which took place from August 14 to 18 in Galle, with Kane Williamson also flagged.

    The Sri Lanka spinner had produced a first-innings five-wicket haul in his team's six-wicket win.

    Dananjaya, who was suspended late last year after his bowling action was reported against England, subsequently faced an independent assessment on August 29.

    This assessment revealed his illegal action and, given the prior suspension, he was automatically suspended from bowling in the international game for a year.

    Dananjaya will be able to approach the ICC for re-assessment following this period, the world governing body said.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.