LEEDS, England, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Reaction after Ben Stokes’s unbeaten 135 earned England a thrilling one-wicket victory in the third Ashes test to level the series against Australia at 1-1 on Sunday.
England captain Joe Root:
“Ben Stokes is a freak, he’s incredible. The message at the start was to just keep believing. If we had two people out there still breathing then we have a chance.
“After Stokes got to 60-70 he looked like he wasn’t going to get out. To win a game on your own from there is just amazing. He does have recent experience of doing it. Just incredible to watch unfold.”
Australia captain Tim Paine:
“Ah look, it happens mate. Ben Stokes has played one of the great innings. It’s got to sting but we have to trust our process, we were very close. We are on the right track and we have two more chances to win the Ashes.”
England all-rounder Ben Stokes:
“I never gave up. When Jack Leach came in it was pretty clear what I had to do. I told him five and one, I’d take five balls and give him one.
“Leachy is our super-nightwatchman so I backed him knowing what we had to do. I couldn’t watch at the end. I couldn’t watch the balls going down.”
Former England all-rounder Ian Botham:
“It takes a remarkable man and I said this morning that someone needed to front up and be strong.
“I’ve banged the Ben Stokes drum for a long time now and I know when other players see him they think there is something special about him.
“He is very, very valuable to cricket — not just England, he will sell the game worldwide. He should enjoy every moment. It was a really remarkable performance.”
Former Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne:
“Stokes is one of those guys who you want in the trenches with you; he’s one of the guys who train harder than I’ve ever seen anyone train.
“He’s an amazing cricketer and special talent. But when the opportunity presents itself you still have to take it.” (Compiled by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; editing by Clare Fallon)