Both England and Australia have so far displayed some terrific cricketing skills in the ongoing World Test Championship. While the Australians were an inch away from retaining the Ashes, Ben Stokes' heroics restricted the baggy greens from fulfilling their goals, as of now.
It all comes down to the next 5 days of action that is about to happen at Old Trafford in Manchester. The fourth match of the series is about take place there in a couple of days; between 4th and 8th September 2019. All eyes are on Joe Root's men, as the series is currently tied 1-1, with the second test ending in a draw after the display of some dramatic sporting moments.
To retain the Ashes, Australia can stay content with just a single win from the remaining two test matches. Even a couple of draws would ensure that the silverware stays in Melbourne. This is where England is feeling the heat. They cannot afford to lose any of the matches. To rightly deserve the trophy, Root & Co. must thump the Aussies in both the tests. It's the ultimate test of faith and determination.
In the recently concluded third test in Leeds, even a blind English supporter couldn't have predicted England's probability of winning the match. However, it was England's World Cup hero; Stokes, who delivered once again on the highest stage of the game. The entire cricket fraternity is still expressing their amazement for an inning where Ben single-handedly snatched away victory from the grasp of the Kangaroos.
One may argue that Steve Smith's absence had rocked Australia's confidence in the third test, but they must not forget that the Aussies still had a great chance after they dismissed the hosts for a mere 67 in the first innings. According to Sky Sports, losing a match from such a favourable position has certainly damaged the morale and self-confidence of the visitors. It was clear that the men in baggy greens weren't well-versed in holding their nerves in crucial moments.
The visitors repeatedly made mistakes on the ground, fumbled with the ball and gave away easy dismissal opportunities. Now, Steve Smith would be back in Australian whites and the entire Kangaroo army would hope that their run machine clicks, as he often does in crucial games.
On the other hand, the World Champions, in spite of committing errors in the early phase of the match, came back strongly and gifted the fans with arguably one of the best cricket matches. From here, England must forget what has happened in the past. The dream of regaining the Ashes would have been over in Leeds, but luck favoured the brave.
The English team now has the opportunity to attain a rare feat that the nation has never achieved before; winning the World Cup and the Ashes both in the same calendar year. England Cricket is just two matches away from history. Only time would tell if the boys in English colours can reclaim the Ashes after 4 years.