Former Australia head coach Justin Langer reflects on Ben Stokes' Ashes batting heroics; Compares Nathan Lyon's injury to Glenn McGrath's Ashes 2005
Australia defeated England by 43 runs in the second Test of the Ashes 2023.
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The Ashes has given the spectators many memorable matches over the years, however, very few of them compare to the Headingley Test at the 2019 Ashes, where Ben Stokes ran riot and secured a brilliant win for England. In the latest edition of the series, the English skipper was very close to repeating his Headingley heroics at the Lord’s Cricket Ground.
As England aimed to chase down a target of 371 runs to win the second Test, Stokes came in with intent and smashed 155 runs in 214 balls to give his side a fighting chance. However, the same was not enough, as England lost the second Test by 43 runs as Australia strengthened their grip on the series.
Former Australian cricketer Justin Langer came forward to reflect on the differences between the 2019 Headingley Test and the 2023 Lord’s Test and how the Aussies have changed since then. He also emphasised the importance of Nathan Lyon’s presence in the squad.
"The injury to Lyon could have been decisive. When I was coach, Nathan getting injured was the one thought that kept me awake the most at night; such is his importance to the team," Langer was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.
"Watching him limping off the ground, it reminded me of the moment Glenn McGrath stepped on the ball at Edgbaston in 2005. His injury, in my opinion was the turning point in that magnificent series. A series England won," the former Australia head coach added.
It’s not over until Stokes is out: Langer
Furthermore, Langer also heaped praise on England skipper Ben Stokes, who seems to have a knack for coming through under pressure. His brilliant knock at Headingley brought the Aussies to their knees in 2019, and it was all set to repeat at Lord’s as well, but Pat Cummins remained calm.
"When superman Stokes got that look in his eye at Lord’s, I knew why everyone in England and back home in Australia was saying: "It’s not over until Stokes is out." I also know the Australian changing room was saying the same thing," Langer said.
"His calmness was sublime, as was his decision-making. He has been there before, and when you have been there before, your confidence in yourself is real, not fake. There is a difference. It is what distinguishes the greats from the good. Stokes is a great," he added.