England Cricket was bowled out for a woeful 67 in their first innings when last man Jack Leach joined Stokes when they were still looking for 73 more runs to clinch a win target of 359 in the third Test at Headingley.
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Meanwhile, Stokes, in a mixed innings of defensive resilience with attacking flair, hit an unbeaten 135 that brought England a brilliant one-wicket win, which was arguably a more outstanding performance than their celebrated 1981 Ashes victory at Yorkshire’s headquarters.
Looking at World Cup final thriller
Finally, England ended their 45-year drought for a first men’s World Cup title with a superb victory against New Zealand in an extraordinary final at Lord’s in July, which aid their victory by “the barest of margins.”
Ben Stokes’s 84 not out assisted England equal but not above New Zealand’s 241, his innings includes a lucky six that came after a throw from the outfield deflected off his bat and went for four bonus runs.
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The final went into a Super Over and here too the scores were level for the first time. The run out of New Zealand’s Martin Guptill off the last ball of the game saw England triumph on higher boundary count. Stokes, whose career was almost cut short by a court case that eventually saw him acquitted on a charge of affray, was a national hero in 2019.
Batsman Steve Smith returns
Star batsman Steve Smith cleared the doubt whether he is still in form after his 12-month ban for his role in the ‘sandpaper’ ball-tampering scandal in South Africa, which stripped him the Australia captain crown as he took the Ashes opener at Edgbaston where he launched his return with a brilliant innings of 144 and 142 during a 251-run victory.
That was the beginning of an outstanding run spree that saw the Test batsman Smith score 774 runs at an average of 110.57.
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The Australian side maintained the Ashes as five-game series wrapped-up all square at 2-2, with the head blow Smith went though after being struck by a Jofra Archer bouncer during the drawn second game at Lord’s which saw Marnus Labuschagne become Test cricket’s first concussion substitute.
Stokes’s Headingley heroics
Ben Stokes shines as England made history by winning the World Cup for the first time before producing one of the most memorable innings in Ashes history following Australia’s Steve Smith successful return to the international stage.
Earlier in January, Kusal Perera compiled one of the greatest innings in Test history when his stunning 153 not out guided Sri Lanka to a remarkable one-wicket victory over South Africa in Durban.
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For Sri Lanka, they were still looking for 78 more runs to reach victory when last man Vishwa Fernando joined Perera in the middle.
Test cricket returns to Pakistan
According to AFP, ”A weather hit draw between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in a Test completed Monday may seem to be a run-of-the-mill result.”
We saw this as one of the most thrilling fixtures for 2019 considering the match at Rawalpindi that marked Pakistan’s first Test on home soil for a long time after a militant attack on Sri Lanka’s team bus made the country a no-go zone for leading sides.
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Abid Ali score a century as the Pakistani became the first batsman to compile a hundred on both his Test and one-day international debuts during the match.
Here’s the focus for 2020
In October and November 2020, the men’s World Twenty20 will take place in Australia, with the hosts bids to end global trophy drought and holders West Indies heads for a third title.