When Australia picked four quick wickets in the final session on Day 4, they emerged as the outright favourites to go 2-0 up in the series. When two wickets fell in quick succession moments before Lunch on the final afternoon, Australia were once again emerged as favourites, almost nullifying a drawn result at the Lord’s. Yet right when Ben Stokes teed off in that final 20 minutes leading to Lunch and the hour after that, Australia knew they were in for trouble. Probably experienced a déjà vu moment as well with images of 2019 Headingley coming back. The visitors eventually survived the scare to add to their Birmingham win, but that epic show from Stokes left social media and world cricket abuzz. So much so that even former India skipper Virat Kohli reiterated his old remark on Stokes in a blockbuster tweet on the England skipper.

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In a fourth-innings chase in England, Stokes is a force to reckon with. Australia witnessed that four years back and were in for a repeat show when the England captain smashed a record 155, the highest score by an English skipper in Ashes in 13 years. It was also the highest ever individual knock by an England captain in the fourth innings of a Test. And although it had ended up in a losing cause with Australia having Josh Hazlewood and wicketkeeper Alex Carey to thank for the dismissal, Kohli was full of praise for the England captain as he reiterated his remark made in response to Stokes’s post on ODI retirement.

“I wasn’t joking about calling Ben Stokes the most competitive bloke I’ve played against. Innings of the highest quality but Australia is too good at the moment,” Kohli tweeted, which also included his verdict in the ongoing Ashes contest. It wasn’t that Stokes had gone all guns blazing right from the start. He had, in fact, made a very cautious approach to the chase on Day 4 and stitched a valiant stand alongside Ben Duckett. But after Jonny Bairstow’s dismissal, Stokes went bang-bang to score 50 runs in the final five overs before lunch, which included 24 runs off Cameron Green, laced by three consecutive sixes.

He continued the same in the second session as well, which single-handedly reduced the gap to below 100 while Stuart Broad provided able assistance. However, following Stokes’ dismissal, the rest of the lineup crumbled within moments, allowing Australia to go 2-0 ahead in the five-match series with a 43-run win.




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