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The England cricket team breathed life into their Ashes hopes on Sunday chasing down 251 to win the third test at Headingley to bring the series back to 2-1. It was another thriller that could have gone either way but this time England managed to get over the line thanks to Harry Brook’s fine 75, a composed innings from Chris Woakes and a thrilling cameo from man of the match Mark Wood. The game was firmly in the balance when Jonny Bairstow’s flat footed waft at Mitchell Starc cannoned via his inside edge into the stumps with the hosts still needing 80 with just four wickets remaining. Starc was the man who kept the Aussies in the hunt throughout a tense day four taking 5 for 78. Stuart Broad before the day’s play said that England would take the chase like a 50 over match and that proved to be the case, completing victory after exactly 50 overs.

Australia Step Up To The Crease First

England inserted Australia after winning a good toss on day one under gray skies on a surface offering more assistance for the seamers with certainly more pace and bounce than the rather benign surfaces afforded at Edgbaston and Lords. Things seemed to be going to plan at lunch reducing the Australia cricket team to 91 for 4, with Mark Wood on his return bowling with searing pace to demolish Usman Khawaja’s stumps. Wood’s speeds touched 97mph during a fiery reintroduction to the longest format. England lost their way after lunch though with Mitchell Marsh taking full advantage. The all rounder in the side to replace Cameron Green played superbly making a run a ball 118 sharing a partnership of 160 with Travis Head in just 32 overs. Both players took advantage of England’s sloppiness in the field with Bairstow dropping Head down the legside and Joe Root shelling a costly sitter at slip when Marsh had barely made double figures. As the game and The Ashes cricket series looked like it was getting away from England Woakes dismissed Marsh to trigger a collapse of 23 for 6 in little over 8 overs to bowl out the opposition for 263. Mark Wood mopped up the tail to finish with an excellent 5 for 34.

Tensions As The Match Hangs In The Balance

England’s reply was in danger of falling well short of Australia’s first innings when Mark Wood joined skipper Ben Stokes in the middle. England were teetering on 142 for 7, as is England’s wont these days this precarious position was met by an ultra aggressive approach. Wood hit 24 in just 8 balls, Stokes accelerated to be last out for a fine 80 backing up us Lord’s heroics getting his team to within 26 of Australia. Pat Cummmins also led by example for his team taking 6 for 91.

Moeen Ali removed danger men Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith as the game continued to swing in either direction in Australia’s second innings. With England down to three seamers after Ollie Robinson’s back spasm Broad, Woakes and Wood shared the wickets to leave England with 251 to win. Once again the middle of the pitch was tested with Travis Head at the crease, he found the stands on several occasions to boost Australia’s lead in similar fashion to 

Ben Stokes first innings counter attack. He was the last man dismissed for 77.

England Keep The Ashes Alive On The Final Day

England started what was to be the final day on 27 for 0 but soon lost Ben Duckett. Moeen Ali’s promotion to number 3 didn’t last long and it seemed like every time England got themselves in a strong position a wicket fell. That until Woakes came together with Harry Brook, crucially it was England’s first 50 partnership of the match. When Brook fell England still needed 21, any nerves were quickly calmed by Wood who launched his second ball off the top edge for 6. Headingley erupted in similar fashion to 2019 when Chris Woakes scythed Starc through cover point taking England to a three wicket victory, to keep the Ashes alive and give England momentum going into next week’s fourth test at Old Trafford.