Wednesday 26 February, 2020

Woakes thought Headingley knock was beyond England saviour Stokes

Ben Stokes celebrates England's win at Headingley.

Ben Stokes celebrates England's win at Headingley.

Chris Woakes has conceded he doubted even Ben Stokes could turn the tide in the third Ashes Test between England and Australia at Headingley.

Stokes amassed an incredible 135 not out and led a 76-run stand for the last wicket alongside number 11 Jack Leach as the hosts, who were all out for 67 in their first innings, chased down an unlikely target of 359 to level the series at 1-1 on Sunday.

Woakes witnessed a similarly superb performance from Stokes in a dramatic Cricket World Cup final victory over New Zealand in July, though he thought England's chances of keeping the Ashes alive in Leeds were all but over.

"I've seen Ben do some incredible things on the cricket field but I thought this one was just out of reach for him to be honest," Woakes told the BBC's Stumped programme.

"I thought he was done, it was done, and when the score starts creeping down to about 50 to win you start thinking, 'What if I'd been able to build a little bit of a partnership and get a bit closer?'

"We were kind of resigned to the fact that it was pretty much done.

"It was a very nervous and tense dressing room, and the closer Stokesy and Jack got the more tense it got, because we started thinking it was possible, which is a dangerous place to be."

England made their way back onto the field several hours after the game, and Woakes believes it was important to revel in the achievement.

"We went onto the outfield as a team to share the moment," he said.

"Although we realise it's mid-series, it was important to realise how special that game actually was, for Stokesy to do something unbelievable and incredible and you probably won't see that again."

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