Ashes 2019: Ben Stokes says England have 'forgotten' about Headingley heroics

Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes hit an unbeaten 135 as England won the third Ashes Test by one wicket at Headingley
Men's Ashes 2019: England v Australia, fourth Specsavers Test
Venue: Old Trafford Dates: 4-8 September Time: 11:00 BST
Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW, online, tablets, mobiles and BBC Sport app. Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website.

Ben Stokes says his heroic innings at Headingley will count for nothing if England do not win the Ashes back from Australia.

Stokes' 135 not out led England to an incredible one-wicket victory and levelled the series at 1-1.

However, Australia will retain the urn if they win the fourth Test at Old Trafford, which starts on Wednesday.

"We have to get the point across that we have forgotten about Headingley," said Stokes.

In an interview to be broadcast on the BBC's Test Match Special during lunch on day one of the fourth Test, the all-rounder added: "That is a message we have been drilling into everyone in the squad.

"People will talk about it and it will come up in interviews, but it will count for nothing if we don't win these Ashes."

As holders, Australia only need to draw the series in order to take the Ashes back down under.

That means England cannot afford to be beaten in either of the final two Tests in Manchester and at The Oval next week.

Stokes' extraordinary innings kept the series alive when it seemed like England were beaten in Leeds.

The hosts still needed 73 when he was joined by last man Jack Leach but, between them, the 10th-wicket pair took England to their target of 358 - the highest score they have ever successfully chased to win a Test.

Paine losing sleep over Stokes

Australia captain Tim Paine admits he has "lost a bit of sleep" pondering what to do about Stokes.

"I haven't lost a hell of a lot of sleep thinking about my captaincy but I have lost a bit of sleep thinking how we're going to get him out, that's for sure," he said.

Stokes' brilliance came six weeks after he was named man of the match in the World Cup final, when England lifted the trophy for the first time.

However, he said he does not feel any pressure to continue to reproduce match-winning performances.

"I just go out there and try to do what I am paid to do, which is score runs and take wickets," said the England vice-captain.

"I obviously understand and appreciate what Headingley was, how special that game was, but I still look at it like I was going out there to do my job."

Steve Smith on the way to practice against the backdrop of a Stokes poster
Steve Smith on the way to practice against the backdrop of a Stokes poster

'Cricket bigger than I ever remember'

Stokes did concede that England's remarkable summer so far - the World Cup was won after a super over and the finish to the Headingley Test was one of the most dramatic of all-time - has noticeably heightened interest in the game.

"This summer has made cricket bigger than I ever remember it to be and the Headingley Test has made cricket go even higher than it was after the World Cup," he said.

"You see even tiny little things, like the number of people who wait at the hotel for autographs has gone through the roof.

"That has something to do with what we have managed to achieve this summer so far."

You can hear the full interview with Ben Stokes on Test Match Special during the lunch interval on the first day of the fourth Ashes Test.

What is the weather forecast for Old Trafford?

BBC weather forecast for Old Trafford as of 22:00 BST on Tuesday
BBC weather forecast for Old Trafford as of 22:00 BST on Tuesday

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