Ben Stokes was the hero at Headingley as England completed a huge comeback to beat Australia in the second test of the 2019 Ashes.
The England batsman, along with Chris Leach, dug in and held on to give England a huge win against the odds, with Stokes scoring an astonishing 135 not out.
England needed 73 to win, after being set a target of a record 359 to win the second test and level the series.
However, after one of the best individual performances by an English cricketer, Stokes rallied to keep the series alive going into the fourth test at Old Trafford.
This incredible comeback win got us thinking back to other times when athletes or teams have shown the grit and determination to win when it looked certain they would lose.
In honour of Ben Stokes and his team, here are some of the best sporting comebacks of all time.
E.S.B – The Grand National, 1956
In 1956, Devon Loch, owned by the Queen Mother, was five lengths clear in the Grand National with only 40 yards to go to the winning post. For some reason, he jumped in the air before collapsing onto his stomach, allowing Irish horse E.S.B to overtake him and win the race.
Manchester United- Champions League Final, 1999
Bayern Munich were 1-0 up against Manchester United in the Champions League Final as the game went into injury time. They conceded a late equaliser when Teddy Sheringham scored from a corner kick. With the game heading to extra-time, a shell-shocked Munich side allowed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to score a winning goal less than a minute later and complete an amazing comeback for United.
England - The Ashes Third Test - 1981
The Third Test of the 1981 Ashes looked to be in the bag for Australia. Having scored 401 batting first, Australia bowled England out for just 174 to give themselves a lead of 227. They made England follow on and immediately removed opener Graham Gooch for a duck. At this stage, England were 500/1 to win with the bookmakers. Australia continued to take wickets and had England at 135/7, still miles behind with just three wickets left. However, a magnificent innings by Ian Botham, who smashed 149 runs in 148 balls, aided by Graham Dilley and Chris Old, gave England a slim lead of 129 runs. Australia were still favourites to win, but a wonderful bowling spell by Bob Willis, who took eight wickets, gave England a famous win and Australia a nightmare loss.
Buffalo Bills - AFC Wild Card Round, 1993
In January 1993, the Houston Oilers faced the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Wild Card game. The Oilers led 35-3 and a lot of the Buffalo Bills fans went home. However, in the third quarter, the Bills scored 28 points and the Oilers just seven, and the Bills went on to tie the game in the fourth quarter. In overtime, Steve Christie made a 36-yard field goal and the Bills won the game.
Steffi Graf - Wimbledon, 1993
In the 1993 Wimbledon final, Steffi Graf was 4-1 down in the final set against Jana Novotna, however, she won he next five games and ended up winning the title.
Red Rum - Grand National, 1973
At one stage of the 1973 Grand National, Australian horse Crisp was leading the race by 30 lengths. However, just a few minutes later, the race was over and Red Rum, not Crisp, was the winner. The most famous racehorse of all time closed the gap to win by less than a length.
Nick Faldo - Masters, 1996
In the final round of the 1996 Masters, Greg Norman led Nick Faldo by six shots. However, he hit bogies on holes nine, 10 and 11 before finding the water on hole 12 and Faldo overtook him and claimed victory.
Australia - World Cup semi-final, 1999
The semi-final of the Cricket World Cup in 1999 went down to the last over with South Africa needing nine runs to win, whilst a tie or loss would see them knocked out. South Africa had lost nine wickets but looked to be in control thanks to the excellent Lance Klusener. Klusener hit the first two balls of the last over for four, meaning the scores were level. The third went for no run, and disaster struck on the fourth. Klusener mis-hit the ball to Mark Waugh at mid-off and set off for a risky run. His partner at the other end, Allan Donald, was ball watching and ended up being run out by miles to send Australia to the final.
Boston Red Sox - American League Championship Series, 2004
The New York Yankees faced the Boston Red Sox in the 2004 American League Championship Series, with the winner advancing to the World Series. The Yankees won the first three games in the best of seven series and were up by one going into the ninth innings of game four. The Redsox managed to win that tight fourth game and then won the next three to advance and knock the Yankees out.
Liverpool - Champions League Final, 2005
After a dominant display against Liverpool in the first-half of the 2005 Champions League Final, AC Milan led 3-0 and looked like they’d easily win the cup. However, Liverpool scored three goals in six minutes in the second half and the game ended 3-3 after extra-time. Liverpool went on to win on penalties as Milan missed three of their five spot-kicks.
New England Patriots - SuperBowl, 2017
At one point during the second half of SuperBowl 51, the New England Patriots were trailing the Atlanta Falcons 28-3. However, they managed to level up the game 28-28 and ended up winning in overtime.
Oracle Team USA - Americas Cup, 2013
In the 2012 America’s Cup, Team New Zealand were leading the best of 17 series 8-1, meaning they needed just one more race win to claim victory. However, Oracle Team USA managed to pull off one of the biggest comebacks of all time as they reeled off eight consecutive victories to win the competition.
India - Champions Trophy Final, 2013
The 2013 Champions Trophy Final was reduced to 20 overs per side due to bad weather. England bowled well, restricting India to 129-7. England looked on course to claim victory with just 20 runs needed off the final 16 balls. However, England batsmen Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara, Jos Buttler and Tim Bresnan were all dismissed for just three runs, leaving England 113-8 with eight balls left. Requiring 17 runs to win, England could only manage to get 11 as James Treadwell missed the last ball, needing to hit a six to win. India had defied the odds!
Mark Selby - Snooker World Championship Final, 2017
Mark Selby became just the fourth man in the modern era, after Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O’Sullivan, to retain his World Championship title at the Crucible after a great comeback. He came from 10-4 down to win 18-15 against John Higgins, completing one of the best comebacks in the history of the sport.
Barcelona - Champions League Last 16, 2017
When Barcelona lost the first leg of their Champions League Last 16 tie with PSG 4-0, it looked like the tie was over. However, in the second leg, Barca got the score back to 4-3 on aggregate and the impossible dream was very much alive. Edinson Cavani’s away goal around the hour mark looked to have killed the tie, but incredibly, Barca scored in the 88th, 91st and 96th minutes to pull off a quite incredible comeback.
West Indies - World T20 Final, 2016
England batted first in the final of the World T20 and scored a modest 155/9. However, they bowled really well and were favourites to win the competition going into the last over, which was to be bowled by Ben Stokes. The West Indies required 19 to win from six balls, a tough ask, but Carlos Brathwaite managed to get them over the line with time to spare by hitting four consecutive sixes.
Roma stun Barcelona, 2018
On an incredible night in Rome, AS Roma overturned a 4-1 deficit from the first-leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie with Barcelona to advance to the last four of the competition. Needing to win 3-0 to make it to the semi-finals, Roma got the result they wanted in front of their own fans, thanks to goals from Edin Dzeko, Daniele de Rossi and Kostas Manolas. It was one of the most incredible comebacks in the history of the Champions League.
Watford complete the comeback against Wolves, 2019
Watford booked themselves a place in the FA Cup final with a stunning come-from-behind victory over Wolves at Wembley. The Hornets trailed 2-0 heading into the closing stages of the game but substitute Gerard Deulofeu gave them a lifeline with a lovely curling effort. Then, deep into stoppage time, Leander Dendoncker fouled Troy Deeney in the penalty area and the Watford captain made no mistake, drilling home his penalty to force extra-time. Then, in the 104th minute, Deulofeu wrote himself into FA Cup folklore as he guided a strike beyond John Ruddy to send Watford to the final.
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