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By Stephan Shemilt
BBC Sport in Old Trafford
We’ve been here before and must assess the response.
Just under 2 weeks ago, after England awakened to 67 out, there were plenty of people who carried out a on the house side presented Australia with the Ashes and ended more livelihood.
We know what happened next. Within this summer of summers, England should not be written off.
At Headingley, it needed Ben Stokes to play with among the amazing Test innings to maintain the Ashes alive.
They have to follow the self-denial that came before, although not his last-hour pyrotechnics, if England are to perform the same at Old Trafford.
However, as always with England, the spectre of potential collapse looms big. When Australia possess the very best part of 500 over the plank and three full days to shoot an additional 19 wickets, even as little as only a mini-slump could display terminal.
At the very least a collapse could attract humour. The really spectacular ones are finished quickly. Like ripping off a plaster the pain dispensed at a brief, sharp burst.
England’s distress in Manchester has been assembled over two weeks and sometimes on Thursday day it felt just like the drip, drip, drip of water torture.
It turned into the hot glow from Headingley to a chill blowing across Old Trafford and abandoned the disposition as dark as the skies.
The sight of Ben Stokes departing the field had been too much to bear. Like Batman departing Gotham City, it was
The party stand was in name only, the atmosphere more like a wake one with toys and appreciated by Morris dancers, cows and peanuts.
were the millimetres between the space behind the popping crease and the heel of Jack Leach’s correct boot.
In case when a edged Steve Smith drive, the relief has been the collective launch of an England team and audience that have been suffering jointly the replays that demonstrated Leach had over-stepped extended credulity.
It was like spending the money on vehicle, yacht and a mansion and winning the lottery, just to realise that your ticket is a week from date. And your wife has run off. Together with Steve Smith.
Additionally, it proved that Smith had not only mastered the art of shoveling any delivery, regardless of where it is bowled, behind square on the leg side, but has also conjured a method to be out not when he’s out.
Either side of the have been the drops. Jofra Archer could have been any of chilly, shattered or hurt, but he was ineffective.
He neglected to catch the present returned to him After his time to produce the participation came. He also believed the following 146 runs.
Australia captain Tim Paine had been bounced England delivered to the hands of some waiting fielder for fun before this match, helping each ball out.
Australia bowled out for under 300 and perhaps would have been 246-6 if second slip Jason Roy had captured his edge off Stuart Broad.
He got another life with Smith within his stand of 145, by the end of which the tourists have been in a position to wreak havoc on a attack.
The no-balls and the drops could just about be stomached. Stokes departing the field, unable to finish an problem’s sight, was too much to bear. Like Batman leaving Gotham City, it was.
Even in the darkest days, there was the comfort that everything would be OK as long as England had their superhero.
The fear was of cricketing nightmare ended by his own return if he did not endure for the remaining innings, that the worst form.
The seldom ruffled Joe Root elevated his voice to demand his group snapped out of their malaise, but it was no good.
Broad punched the turf once his effort at a stop was ineffective, Archer stood on the boundary with his hands buried in his pockets.
After the ordeal was ended by the Australia declaration, England could have settled for their closing score of 23-1.
Smith had been given a standing ovation by a bunch he’d driven into respect. The spectators were on their toes for a reason, when he led off Australia in the conclusion of the afternoon – .
England are not defeated yet and may leave Manchester.
But they have to understand the course of Headingley. Their batting has been decimated, when assault was used by them as their very first line of defence. They pulled the maximum run-chase in their history when they took the opportunity to lay foundations.
Even that needed the brilliance from Stokes, the likes of which cannot be expected from him or anybody else again.
It will need a collective pulling together over the coming days.
An advancement on Friday would be a good place to get started.
Was Ben Stokes’ Test at Headingley the England triumph of time?
Analysis and opinion by the cricket correspondent of the BBC.

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