August 26, 2019

RAISING HIS OWN BAR:

Ashes 2019: How Ben Stokes brought a country to a standstill and a series to life (Felix White, 8/26/19, The Independent)

Sometimes there just are not the words. Sometimes, all you can do is conclude that nowhere on this planet can there be another game in the world capable of doing what Test cricket can. It isn't often though, that there's a single person we can apportion the entire awestruck feeling to.

Sunday 25th August 2019 at Headingley will go down, if not as the greatest team run chase of all time, then certainly as the greatest Test match innings ever played by an Englishman. Ben Stokes, arrived at the crease on Saturday in doomed rescue mission (chasing 359 to keep England in the Ashes), with his customary collar up in a mood of contrary resilience and somehow conspired to find himself still there at 4pm the next day, moving through partnerships, screaming then bowed then screaming again, carving then ushering then carving again, imposing his will on an otherwise lost cause to end up 135 not out and levelling this deeply compelling, endlessly confounding series.

His innings, which will already be memorised and filed in the minds of all that witnessed it as mandatory cricketing syllabus, was an ever-evolving art form. It was an unnervingly clear minded assortment of physical instinct and emotional restraint, an expression of unthinkable alpha zen the likes of which has never been seen before.

It's closest rival, both for brute force, dexterity and, it must be said, luck, will be his own feature length film-worthy sibling of an innings in the World Cup final. One imagines, bar an emergency of the same proportions for which he and he alone is called, we will never see nothing like either ever again. 





Posted by at August 26, 2019 12:00 AM

  

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