England have pulled off a once-in-a-generation comeback to beat Australia in the third Ashes Test at Headingley.

Their remarkable victory at the Leeds ground came thanks to an unbeaten 135 by Ben Stokes as England won by one wicket.

It revived memories of England’s Ian Botham-inspired miracle of 1981 and Mark Butcher’s unforgettable pursuit of 315 in 2001.

Ben Stokes
Image: Ben Stokes hit an unbeaten 135

The result ties the series at 1-1 with two tests to play and means England can still regain the famous urn.

Australia, as holders, would have retained the urn with victory and looked favourites for most of the day, until Stokes and Jack Leach combined for an unbeaten last-wicket stand of 76.

Stokes told Sky Sports he always believed victory was possible: “I never gave up,” he said, adding that “when it [the target] got into the 20s, I thought it was on”.

Had England lost, the chance to win back the trophy which Australia took in 2017 would have gone.

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“We had to win this game to stay in the Ashes. It was unbelievable. I’ll never forget it,” Stokes added.

Captain Joe Root, who was out for 77, called Stokes’ innings “outrageous”.

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‘What an innings, what a player’ – the moment England did it
Australia's players celebrate the dismissal of England's Chris Woakes (R)
Image: Australia’s players celebrate the dismissal of England’s Chris Woakes (R)

He said: “We’ve seen some freakish things already this summer in the World Cup but I didn’t think we’d see something similar in this series.

“To try and sum that up in words is pretty much impossible. Outrageous batting.”

The all-rounder’s 135 not out was his second unforgettable performance of the summer.

In July, he orchestrated England’s first one-day World Cup win in a similarly remarkable final against New Zealand.

Josh Hazlewood
Image: Josh Hazlewood

England resumed on Sunday on 156-3 – chasing a record 359 to win in their second innings.

They recovered from the early loss of captain Root for 77 to reach lunch on 238 for four.

But after the break they lost three quick wickets, including Jos Buttler run out, in a familiar collapse before Stokes’ incredible rescue act.

The series moves to Old Trafford, where the fourth Test starts on 4 September.

The Ashes is exclusively live on Sky Sports.

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