England win thrilling third Test to keep Ashes hopes alive

Harry Brook hit a match-winning 75, while Chris Woakes (32 not out) and Mark Wood (16 not out) remained unbeaten until the end to secure a thrilling three-wicket triumph for England over Australia on the fourth day of the third Ashes Test at Headingley.

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England successfully chased down 251 runs to keep the series alive and bring the scoreline to 2-1, fending off the fiery bowling of Mitchell Starc (5-78). Brook and Woakes formed a crucial partnership of 59 runs for the seventh wicket. Woakes then sealed the chase with a four through point, supported by Wood from the other end.

Resuming at 27/0, Ben Duckett was trapped lbw by Starc in the 10th over of the chase. England sent Moeen Ali in at Number 3, but the strategy didn’t work as Starc bowled him for five.

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Joe Root joined Zak Crawley in an attempt to rebuild England’s innings. The partnership started well, but just as Australia was being pushed out of the game, Mitchell Marsh found the outside edge of Crawley’s bat, and Alex Carey took the catch behind the stumps.

Brook came in at number five and initially played cautiously, contrary to his usual aggressive style. However, he quickly gained confidence and changed gears. After starting slowly with 1 run off 8 balls and 8 off 16 balls, the middle-order batsman hit three boundaries in two overs to increase the scoring rate.

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Against the flow of the game, Australia made another breakthrough when Pat Cummins dismissed Root for 21, with the batsman nicking a short ball down the leg-side to Carey. Despite losing a wicket close to lunch, Brook continued his aggressive approach and reached the forties as the lunch break approached.

After lunch, Starc struck again, dismissing Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow in quick succession, dealing a blow to England as they found themselves at 171/6, still 80 runs away from the target. However, Brook continued to attack the bowling, and he and Woakes frustrated the Australian team with their partnership.

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During their 59-run stand, Brook, a local player, completed 1000 Test runs, becoming the fastest to reach that milestone in terms of balls faced. He also reached his fifty, with Woakes starting to find his rhythm at the other end.

However, Starc returned to claim the wicket of Brook, who top-edged a delivery to cover, leaving England with just over 20 runs needed for victory. With tension evident on the faces of the spectators, Wood hit a crucial six off Pat Cummins in the following over.

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In the subsequent over, Wood smashed a half-volley from Starc for four, alleviating any concerns of an Australian comeback. He received a reprieve when Carey dropped his catch with England needing four runs to win. Finally, Woakes sealed the game with a boundary, leading to an outburst of relief at Headingley.

The next Ashes Test will be played on July 19 at Old Trafford, Manchester.

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