Ben Stokes helped England defeat Australia in an epic third Test at Headingley

Ben Stokes helped England defeat Australia in an epic third Test at Headingley

Ben Stokes helped England defeat Australia in an epic third Test at Headingley (Picture: Getty)

Ben Stokes told his England team-mates he would win them the Test before producing a match-winning and Ashes-saving century at Headingley.

All-rounder Stokes came to the crease with England 141-3 in their second innings, requiring another 218 runs to pull off a remarkable chase and level the series.

Australia were on the verge of retaining the Ashes when the hosts slipped to 286-9 but Stokes steered England to a dramatic one-wicket victory with an unbeaten hundred.

Anderson, who missed the Test through injury, said on the Tailenders podcast: ‘In the dressing room there was [belief]. Look at Ben Stokes, before he went out he said, “I’m doing this”.

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‘He believed and so did Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow and Joe Denly. That belief that you need to have to win games like this was there.

‘When you go out to bat, when it’s your turn, there’s no point of going out there if you don’t think you can do it.’

Anderson also revealed what ‘focused’ Stokes said at lunch on day four after England lost just one wicket during the morning session.

England’s record wicket-taker said: ‘At lunch, he said, “right, that’s gone now… that two hours means nothing. Don’t think about winning, think about batting the next two hours”.

James Anderson hopes to play in the fourth Test

James Anderson hopes to play in the fourth Test (Picture: Getty)

‘You could see at that point that he was so focused.’

Anderson bowled just four overs on the first morning of this Ashes series before pulling up with a calf strain that ruled him out of the second and third Test.

However, the 37-year-old hopes to be fit to return to the side for the fourth match at Old Trafford, which starts on September 4, having featured for Lancashire’s second XI last week.

‘Everything is going smoothly so far so I’m keeping my fingers crossed [for the fourth Test],’ Anderson said.

Stokes, meanwhile, admitted his stunning performance at Headingley and England’s Ashes win rivalled the team’s triumph in the World Cup final earlier in the summer.

He said: ‘I don’t know [what I’ve done]! It hasn’t quite sunk in, I know we’ve won the game but I’m pretty tired. A great day. It’s definitely up there with the World Cup.

‘I only got nervous when we were down below ten needed but I had my pitching wedge at a perfect length.

‘I couldn’t look when Jack Leach was batting. I was just waiting for the reaction of the crowd! It’s amazing to win a game like that.’

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