• Reading Level 5
Science | Physical Education

England basks in glorious Ashes comeback

Is Ben Stokes England’s greatest sportsperson? Stokes led the England cricket team to a thrilling, improbable victory against Australia on Sunday. It is his second spectacular feat in six weeks. "A horror show." "Calamitous," howled the press. In the third test match of the Ashes on Friday, England's 10 batsmen were bowled out by Australia with just 67 runs. It was the England cricket team's worst innings at the Ashes - one of sport's most iconic rivalries - in 71 years. Only one batsman, Joe Denly, scored more than 10 runs. Needing 361 runs from their second innings, England's hopes of winning back the Ashes from Australia were fading fast. They had already lost the first test and held on for an unconvincing draw in the second. But as the country basked in its hottest August bank holiday on record on Sunday, the unthinkable began to unfold. After an unsteady start, Ben Stokes - the man who single-handedly carried England to its first World Cup title last month - took his place at the stumps. As his runs began to build up, so did English hopes. By the last few balls, and with nine men out, the tension reached fever-pitch. Could he hold on? Stokes himself could not bear to watch where his shots went. But hold on he did - to take a huge 135 runs. England had conjured victory from the depths of despair. English bowler Stuart Broad's comments captured the elation and disbelief of fans moments after the match. "It was one of those 'I was there' moments. I don't think anyone in this ground will see a better innings," he said. Ben Stokes, he gushed, has "the heart of a lion". Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed, saying that Stokes deserves a "dukedom" for his efforts. "Go urn my son!" "Land of heat and glory!", read yesterday's front pages in a marked reversal from those of previous days. Things did not always look so bright for Stokes. This time last year, he came close to losing his place on the England team after he was charged with affray over a fight outside a nightclub. He was later cleared. If last month's World Cup final win was Stokes's moment of redemptionBeing saved from sin or evil, or doing good to make up for doing something wrong. , then this victory has catapulted him to the level of national treasure. Is Ben Stokes England's greatest sportsperson? Howzat! He has a strong claim to be, say some. He has shown super-human focus and mental strength to perform under pressure. Has anyone else single-handedly turned around a seemingly hopeless situation on the biggest of stages - not once, but twice? In just two months, two of his performances have been touted as the greatest in his sport's history. That speaks for itself. But it's not so simple, say others. Stokes's achievement would not be possible without the smart defensive playing of batsman Jack Leach, or the brave bowling of young Jofra Archer. Cricket is always a team game, as Stokes himself says. Besides, it's impossible to measure Stokes's successes against those of Andy Murray, Lewis Hamilton or Steve Redgrave, who have all reached historic heights in their respective sports. KeywordsRedemption - Being saved from sin or evil, or doing good to make up for doing something wrong.

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