'Miracles do happen': England make cricket history in crazy Ashes win

Australian Associated Press

Unbeaten centurion Ben Stokes has delivered England an unprecedented and unbelievable victory in the third Ashes Test, grabbing a one-wicket win as he hauled in a record-breaking target of 359 to stun Australia in Leeds.

World Cup hero Stokes delivered another pressure-laden knock for the ages, finishing 135 not out on Sunday as England completed their highest chase in Test history.

‘ABSOLUTE SCREAMER’: David Warner stuns with insane catch

The hosts, skittled for 67 in their first dig, required 73 runs from their final-wicket stand to make history after Jofra Archer and Stuart Broad departed in quick fashion during the post-lunch session on a topsy-turvy fourth day at Headingley.

"It's unbelievable," Stokes said.

"I have to take it all in. I'm not sure that will ever happen again."

Ben Stokes, pictured here celebrating after hitting the winning runs.
Ben Stokes celebrates victory after hitting the winning runs. (Photo by Tim Goode/PA Images via Getty Images)

Stokes hogged strike and went on a six-hitting rampage, only to twice go close to handing Australia a one-run victory in Nathan Lyon's final over of the drama-laden contest.

A terrible mix-up between Stokes and Jack Leach should have resulted in the latter being run out but Lyon fumbled at the non-striker's end when the ball was tossed back to him.

Lyon and his 10 teammates went up for a desperate lbw appeal after the next delivery struck Stokes' back pad, with the offspinner on his back as it was turned down by umpire Joel Wilson.

Stokes would have been out on review but Tim Paine wasted his final referral in the preceding over on a far more optimistic lbw shout from Pat Cummins.

Leach clipped a ball off his hips to level the scores then Stokes cracked Cummins' next ball through the covers to level the series, triggering wild scenes from the delirious allrounder, crowd and dressing room.

"He played one of the great innings, it's going to sting," Australia captain Paine said, claiming Wilson's howler was "irrelevant".

"Stokesy played out of his skin, had some luck, but played very well."

England had been 17 runs away from victory when Stokes offered a chance off the bowling of Cummins, with the ball swirling in the air as Marcus Harris sprinted in from the deep.

Harris dived forward but the catch didn't stick.

England make cricket history

Victory for England, who had never hauled in a target higher than 332 to win a Test, was remarkable on several fronts.

Only one team had previously chased down more than 342 to win a Test in England, which coincidentally came at Headingley.

That was Don Bradman's 1948 Ashes tourists, who sealed their invincible reputation by made a mockery of chasing 404 thanks to the captain's unbeaten 173.

The result is a hammer blow to Australia's confidence given pundits were calling for Joe Root to step down as captain after England's shambolic collapse on day two.

Ben Stokes, pictured here walking off after his remarkable innings.
Ben Stokes celebrates his remarkable innings. (Image: PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Since 1888, no team has won a Test after being bowled out for less than 70.

Lyon needed three deliveries on day four to claim the key scalp of Root then the tourists fluffed their lines with the second new ball.

Hazlewood, who finished with match figures of 9-115, shifted momentum by snapping an 86-run stand between Stokes and Jonny Bairstow.

Travis Head ran Jos Buttler out with a superb direct hit in a post-lunch collapse of 5-41 but Stokes always loomed as a potential match-winner.