Ben Stokes is seeking the spirit of 2019 to deliver another Ashes-saving magical moment at Headingley.
England are looking to win an Ashes from 2-0 down for the first time as Stokes returns to the site of his epic 135 not out that kept the 2019 contest alive. It was also the venue of Ian Botham’s 1981 miracle.
Australia captain Pat Cummins admitted that the first thing he thought of on arriving at Headingley was 2019, when Stokes hit him for four to complete England’s victory, a moment the bowler believes he has watched “about 1,000 times”.
Ashes fixtures and full schedule
First Test, Edgbaston, Birmingham – June 16-20 (Australia won by two wickets)
Second Test, Lord’s, London – June 28-July 2 (Australia won by 43 runs)
Third Test, Headingley, Leeds – July 6-10
Fourth Test, Old Trafford, Manchester – July 19-23
Fifth Test, The Oval, London – July 27-31
Trent Bridge has missed out on hosting a men’s Test, although it was the venue for the one-off Test in the women’s Ashes.
What time does each Test match start?
All five Tests are designated ‘day’ matches, commencing at 11am (BST), and each day’s play is scheduled to last until 6pm, although time can be made up to 6.30pm, if no breaks in play, to facilitate 90 overs. Lunch will be at 1pm and last for 40 minutes and tea at 3.40pm for 20 minutes.
What is England’s record in the Ashes at each ground?
Edgbaston P16 W6 L5 D5
Lord’s P40 W7 L18 D15
Headingley P25 W8 L9 D8
Old Trafford P30 W7 L8 D15
The Oval P38 W17 L7 D14
What TV channel is the Ashes on? How can I follow it in the UK?
Sky has the rights for domestic Tests and is broadcasting all five matches exclusively live on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event.
More people tuned into the Edgbaston Test than any other in Sky’s history, with the peak audience of 2.12 million narrowly beating the figures for the 2019 Ashes Test at Headingley, when Ben Stokes marshalled an extraordinary England heist.
The BBC has a highlights package and shows Today at the Test on BBC2 at 7pm after each day’s play.
The BBC has the radio rights for domestic Tests and features ball-by-ball coverage (unless you are listening on longwave during the shipping forecast) on Radio 5 Live Sports Extra and via the BBC Sounds app.
TMS coverage is led as usual by Jonathan Agnew, alongside what it calls “an iconic commentary team” comprising Isa Guha, Simon Mann, Alison Mitchell, Daniel Norcross and Jim Maxwell, with summarisers Michael Vaughan, Sir Alastair Cook, Phil Tufnell, Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie, Ebony Rainford Brent, Vic Marks and Alex Hartley. Andy Zaltzman returns as scorer.
Who is in the Ashes squads?
England vice-captain Ollie Pope has been ruled out of the remainder of the summer with a serious shoulder injury sustained during the second Ashes Test at Lord’s.
Pope had a scan on Monday which confirmed that he had dislocated his right shoulder. It is the third serious shoulder injury of his career, although the previous two have been to his left shoulder. It will require surgery and rules him out for the remainder of the series with Australia.
“It’s a big blow for us,” said Joe Root, the former captain. “Ollie has been phenomenal over the past 18 months. He’s stepped up as vice-captain and the more responsibility that has been given to him we’ve got more out of him as a player.”
Australia have a firm grip on the Ashes with England needing to win the remaining three games of the series to take back the urn.
Pope’s injury has been a partial factor in a rejigged England XI. Harry Brook is promoted to number three, while Moeen Ali to offer a spin option and lower-order batting. Elsewhere, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood return, with Josh Tongue and James Anderson left out.
Australia squad for third Ashes Test
Pat Cummins (captain), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Todd Murphy, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith (vice-captain), Mitchell Starc, David Warner.
England squad for third Ashes Test
Ben Stokes (captain), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Dan Lawrence, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root, Josh Tongue, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
What is the recent history of the Ashes?
England are bidding to regain the Ashes for the first time since 2017. Going into the series, Ben Stokes’s side had an awful lot going for them, winning 10 of their first 12 Tests under his captaincy, and also enjoy a superior record in the past five home series against their most venerable opponent, four of which were won and the last, in 2019, drawn.
After losing the first Ashes of the 21st century 4-1 on Steve Waugh’s last tour here, England won back the Ashes in memorable style in 2005, regained them in 2009, both times by margins of 2-1, retained them 3-0 in 2013, won them back by 3-2 in 2015 and rallied to square the series 2-2 four years ago even though they were unable to prevent the holders preserving their possession of the urn.
In the 1980s and 1990s England’s home Ashes series were elongated to encompass six Tests but since the conclusion of Australia’s 1997 tour they have been wisely reduced to five and that remains the format this time around.
There is one significant and controversial difference, however, because of the 50-over World Cup in October, which England will begin as defending champions, and the desire of the England and Wales Cricket Board to give its Hundred competition an August showcase, the marquee Test series will take part before high summer and only the final Test will be held after the state schools break up for the long holiday.
What England are saying
England captain, Ben Stokes, said: “We’ve got some very fond memories here as an England team, I’m sure supporters have got some fond memories as well. 1981 and 2019 will probably come up at some point around the ground.
“We’ve had some some pretty special memories here as a team, obviously, that game  in particular was probably the highlight for the guys who were here. But even going back before we were even born obviously Beefy [Botham] here as well and Bob [Willis].
“I think the magical thing that would happen this week is for us to win the game and keep the Ashes alive. We’ve had good memories here and you’re always thinking it’d be great to make another one.”
Stokes encouraged his team to play with total freedom despite the perilous situation they find themselves in.
“We understand where we’re at in the series and we know what we need to do,” he said. “It may sound daft and something but we find ourselves in actually the perfect situation for for what we have been speaking about as a group in the dressing room, what we want to do and how we want to go about it. And this is that moment, it starts here at Headingley and we’ve got to win this game.
The game is set to be played in an electric atmosphere following Australia’s controversial stumping of Jonny Bairstow at Lord’s on Sunday as they won by 43 runs. Stokes called on the crowd to get behind England.
“The atmosphere on the Western Terrace when it gets going, especially towards the end of the day, is something else,” he said. “When we’re on top here, they get going with us but even when things aren’t going our way, they’re always there with us. It’s just an amazing atmosphere here at Headingley, it always has been and I think they absolutely love the fact that Yorkshire people walk out and play here – they love watching Jonny and Joe [Root] come out and play cricket for England.
“The crowd here is amazing. When we’re on top they get going even more, but even when things are slow and maybe we’re not having the success that we want to in any given situation, they’re still going wild. I think they might be a little bit ramped up, for some reason.
“That’s natural. We have experienced it all in Australia. It’s a pretty hostile environment in Australia when you’re playing in the Ashes but that’s part of playing the game.”
Stokes confirmed England’s team, as reported by Telegraph Sport on Tuesday, with Harry Brook promoted to No 3 and Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood coming into the side. Stokes admitted that doubts over his own fitness came into his thinking following a gruelling weekend at Lord’s in which he bowled a 12-over spell, then battered 155 to give England hope of victory.
“I’m not going to lie: that last week sort of took it out of me a little bit,” said Stokes. “So a big part of what I had to think of is what would be the best team if I wasn’t to bowl a ball in this game, in the worst case scenario? That doesn’t mean I’m not going to bowl but that was a that was a huge part of the thinking about the team that we picked.”
Stokes also promoted keeper Bairstow to No 5, where he enjoyed a stunning run of form in 2022.
“That’s where he performed his miracles last summer,” said Stokes. “Jonny is someone who wants to get in the game and we feel he offers his best to the team when he is in the game. He’s a superstar and the quicker we can get him in the game particularly with the bat the better off it is for him as an individual and the better off we are as a team.”
Wood will provide England with a regular 90mph option for the first time this series having shaken off an elbow complaint. He comes in for the rested Josh Tongue, who took five wickets at Lord’s.
“Replacing someone who performed so well with Mark Wood is a big, big positive for us,” said Stokes. “Tongue was bowling high 80s last week, so to have someone who can bowl high 90s is pretty exciting. I think as well with that Woody’s not just an out and out bloke who runs in and tries to hit people. He is a very skilful bowler as well.”
Australia are likely to make two changes, with Todd Murphy replacing the injured Nathan Lyon, and Scott Boland in for Josh Hazlewood. Cameron Green did not train on Wednesday due to his heavy workload but is not thought to be a doubt.”
What Australia are saying
Todd Murphy, the Australia spinner, is bracing himself for an Ashes baptism of fire on his first visit to England as he prepares for all-out aggression from the home batsmen and crowd at Headingley.
Murphy, 22, made an impression in his first four Tests, taking 14 wickets (including Virat Kohli four times) in India earlier this year, but has been tasked with the filling Nathan Lyon’s vast shoes after Australia’s finest off-spinner was ruled out of the series with a calf tear.
Murphy appears certain to come in for Lyon, as Australia mull whether to bring Scott Boland or perhaps even Michael Neser into their attack.
Murphy is aware that England’s batting order are unlikely to let him bowl over after over without being attacked. Lyon picked up nine wickets at 29.3 before his injury, but even he cost four runs per over.
“I’ve never been to England before so it’s all quite new,” Murphy admitted. “I think it’s being able to watch the first couple of Tests and the World Test Championship and gain some information about conditions, and how the game plays, the pace of play, you can take into account. It’s about trying to adapt to the wicket.
“I think they’ll probably come even harder at me [than Lyon]. Obviously I haven’t played a hell of a lot of Test cricket, there’s a challenge that presents itself. They keep taking the game on and I think it’s about trying to navigate through that, come up with a few different ideas that can help and try to keep creating chances.”
Alex Carey’s stumping of Jonny Bairstow at Lord’s means the Australians are likely to receive an even more hostile welcome than they usually do at Headingley.
“I think this might be a bit different to the Indian crowds,” he said. “They made a lot of noise but were all quite friendly.
“From speaking to the boys, this is probably the most hostile ground you get in England. I’m quite looking forward to it if I do get the opportunity, having grown up watching Ashes cricket. It’s going to be different and I’m sure they won’t hold back, so just embrace it and try to have a good time… everyone’s under no illusions it’s going to come pretty hard.”