Oz win 2nd Ashes test despite Stokes century

Wednesday 05th July 2023 06:33 EDT

England captain Ben Stokes’ swashbuckling 155 was in vain as Australia won the second Ashes Test at Lord’s by 43 runs on an extraordinary final day to take a 2-0 lead in the five-Test series. After Jonny Bairstow's dubious dismissal, Stokes smashed nine sixes and nine fours to launch a scorching attack that revived hopes of a repetition of his stunning match-winning innings against the Australians at Headingley four years prior. But with 70 runs needed for victory, he skied Josh Hazlewood to wicketkeeper Alex Carey, who had earlier riled him by stumping Bairstow for 10 after the batsman left his crease at the end of an over. Stokes responded to the loud boos from the fans by hitting three sixes in an over off Cameron Green to achieve his century. At lunch, he was undefeated on 108, and England still needed 128 runs to tie the series. After the break, he maintained his onslaught by hitting Hazlewood for six, and Steve Smith dropped him at deep square leg. The fans erupted in glee as Smith, the former captain of Australia and often one of the safest pairs of hands, allowed the ball to escape his grip.
As he and Stuart Broad established a century partnership for the seventh wicket, Stokes welcomed Mitchell Starc back into the attack with two more maximums, with Broad contributing 11. Before trying to clear the ropes once more and handing Carey a simple catch, Stokes dipped Green for two to pass 150 off 197 balls. Stokes then left the field to a rousing ovation. Australia’s relief was palpable and the end came quickly. Josh Tongue and James Anderson gamely added an unlikely 27 runs, but Hazlewood bowled the former for 19 to dismiss England for 327 and seal victory for the Australians.

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