Jack Leach said that he told Ben Stokes he would trade his innings of 92 against Ireland for a single run in England’s remarkable fourth-innings chase of 356 to win the third Ashes Test at Headingley.
Leach made one not out off 17 balls in a last-wicket partnership of 76 off 62 balls with Stokes, stealing a single to level the scores, before celebrating wildly after Stokes’ winning boundary.
“It was a special feeling,” he told Sky. “Stokesy – unbelievable, like nothing I’ve ever seen before. The crowd – insane. To be part of that at the end was an incredible feeling.”
Leach said that Stokes “didn’t really say a lot” to him as he strode out to bat. “Obviously when I first went in, it was about [the fact that] he was going to have a lot of the strike, being ready to run two, and I just broke it down into the balls that I had to face.”
Leach regularly held Australia up while wiping his glasses free of sweat – in the same manner as his Somerset team-mate Marcus Trescothick – and said that he “had to make sure that I had them clean, because I wouldn’t want to be facing up with the drips [of sweat] coming down.”
“I know I look stupid when I’m out there,” he said, “but it got the job done.”
At times, Stokes refused to watch at the non-striker’s end, and Leach laughed that his partner had “put me off a little bit”.
“He told me at one point ‘I couldn’t watch that ball’, Leach said, and as one [of the bowlers] was running in I thought – he’s not watching again! I thought: ‘have a bit of faith!’
“You do sort of zone out,” Leach said, “but I didn’t think ‘oh God, it’s quiet’ when they were running in, I thought ‘watch the ball, watch the ball’. But then the cheers when Stokesy’s sixes were just going over the boundary… the crowd just went beserk.”
Leach said the win was “a big boost for us,” adding that at one-all, it was “all to play for”.
“We were desperate to win this game, and somehow we’ve pulled it off. It’s very special. To be part of that at the end was an incredible feeling.”
Source: ESPN Crickinfo