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'Village cricketer' Leach doesn't believe he's a hero



Raw vision: The emotion of Britain's extraordinary victory

Jack Leach placed his cult hero status to look like a "village cricket player" after his main supporting role allowed Ben Stokes to direct England to a surprise victory in the third Ashes Test.

England are 9-286, still needing 73 more runs to reach the 359 winning target when the last person Leach walked out to hit at Headingley on Sunday.

Already something that many people like, the bespectacled and bald Leach holds firmly like Stoke around him, who is 61 years old not coming out when joined in the middle by a left arm spinner, paving the way to a surprising 135 unbeaten that made England a one-goal wicket. who evened a five-match series in 1-1.

But just as Ian Botham 149 who didn't come out in England celebrated the 1981 Test victory over Australia at Headingley after the follow-up needed support from Graham Dilley, and Kevin Pietersen's ashes-scrub who won 158 in the Oval in 2005 would not have been possible without Ashley Giles in the other end, so does Stokes need Leach to stay with him for what is to be the last outstanding goal stand of 76.

Stunning Stokes plays a chapter in his life … again

Even though Stokes made an extraordinary attack, Leach – who averaged 11 matches with his position in the hitter sequence – still had to face 17 balls to keep the valuable ones out.

But after making 92 night watchers in a Test against Ireland at Lord last month, Leach lasted for an hour.

The only real fear occurred when, with the two needed to win, he almost ran out only for Nathan Lyon to fail to collect again when Leach was a few yards from his ground.

Drama runs out when Test takes another twist

Leach, however, tied the score before Stokes hit the limit of fast bowler winner Pat Cummins.

Seeing Leach carefully polishing his sunglasses as England closed their fourth-inning victory record also made him a favorite.

"It's nice to have that, maybe because I look like a village cricketer out there, in my glasses and with a bald head," Leach said.

"Maybe people think 'it's probably me' because the others look quite professional."

Leach, whose resistance end has seen him offer a lifetime of free glasses by the sponsors of the Specsavers series in response to suggestions on Twitter from Stokes, added: "I just enjoy playing for England."

The 28-year-old said his careful cleaning routine was only about removing condensation when he faced an Australian attack led by Josh Bowlewood.

"I just have to make sure they are clean every time I face up," Leach said.

"I will really regret if they have been tarnished and I will come out, then the camera enlarges the glasses and they say, 'he doesn't clean his glasses.' I just have to stay calm and do the work in hand."

'I still can't believe': Ponting was stunned by Stokes

When Leach came to bat, it seemed that England's chances of winning had evaporated.

But after seeing, even though as a fan of watching television, Stokes starred in England's World Cup final victory against New Zealand with 84 missing from Lord six weeks before, Leach had faith even when all seemed lost.

Stokes in the middle of the deciding sequence of the World Cup Final match

"I watched the World Cup final as a fan and it shows that anything is possible," he said.

"Ben Stokes is at the center too. Maybe Ben Stokes has to be the center of all possible things. He is just extraordinary."

Leach would likely watch the Headingley match on television too if spinner Moeen Ali was not dropped after a miserable appearance in the opening series on Edgbaston.

Aussies rue missed an opportunity, closing the call in the Ashes epic

With World Cup winning leg-spinner Adil Rashid injured, Leach suddenly found himself suddenly pushed back to the Test side.

"I might think I would watch Abu at home," he admitted.

"But I want to be ready to play and not think anything. Now my chance has come, so I try to make the best use of it."

2019 Qantas Abu Tour in the UK

Australian Forces: Tim Paine (c), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade , David Warner.

British troops: Joe Root (c), Moeen Ali, Jimmy Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes (vc), Olly Stone, Chris Woakes.

First Test: Australia was won by walking 251 on Edgbaston

Second test: The match is drawn at Lord's

Third test: England won by one goal at Headingley

Tour match: Australia v Derbyshire, 29-31 August

Fourth Test: September 4-8, Old Trafford

Fifth Test: September 12-16, The Oval


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