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Ben Stokes picks out favourite shot from Headingley miracle innings

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Ben Stokes picked out a back-foot straight drive off Pat Cummins for four as his favourite shot of his match-winning 135* against Australia in the 2019 Headingley Ashes Test.

The knock, rated by many as one of the best of all time, contained eight sixes as Stokes accelerated in a thrilling finish, but it was the boundary all along the ground that brought England’s runs required into single figures that the all-rounder picked out as his favourite.

“I think that’s my favourite shot,” he said on the Sky Easter Watchalong of the fourth day’s play. “We all have those moments where you play a shot and you’re like, ‘What’s just happened?’”

While mere mortals Nasser Hussain and Rob Key, also watching along, couldn’t exactly relate with that feeling, they did also heap praise on the stroke.

“That’s one of the great shots I’ve seen,” said Hussain. “Ben Stokes, that’s an incredible shot. Who’s this bowler? Cummins, the No.1 bowler in the world. That’s some shot.”

England captain Joe Root, the fourth of the quartet, tried to sum up what made the shot so special.

“You’re trying to get on top of the bounce, for a start,” he said. “Normally that sort of length you’re looking to play a cross-bat shot, or trying to use the pace square of the wicket. To be able to get on top of it and hit it with that much power down the ground is a phenomenal bit of skill. It’s not a technique you’d practice, you’re almost in a baseball position there. To then be able to manipulate the ball into that gap is extraordinary. It’s so hard to set a field to.”

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