Despite England’s best efforts - unleashing Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes’ timely century - they could not level the series at Lord’s. That makes the contest at Headingley even more exciting. An England win will put the series back in the balance, while an Aussie win will ensure that they retain The Ashes, regardless of what happens in the final two Tests. Headingley has not been a particularly happy hunting ground for England as they have won only three out of the last 10 matches played there. More importantly, they have lost 6 and drawn 1.
However, the venue has been a host to memorable performances and matches - most recently in 2014 when Sri Lanka beat England by 100 runs after James Anderson was dismissed off the penultimate ball of the Test, after Angelo Mathews struck a majestic 160.
Going a few decades back, it was Don Bradman, who had conquered Headingley. He had already struck
131 in the first Test at Trent Bridge and followed that up with 254 at Lord’s. Just when one thought
they had seen the best of The Don, he came up with another extra-ordinary innings in the next. He went from 0 to 309 not out on a single day, without breaking a sweat. He was eventually dismissed
for 334, which included 46 glorious boundaries.
Bradman played five more innings at Headingley. His scores read: 304, 103, 16, 33 and 173 not out. Overall, he amassed 963 runs at 192.60, which included four hundreds. His 963 runs are the most by any player at the venue and his average of 192.60 are his highest on any ground.
Almost five decades later a certain Ian Terence Botham made his entry into international cricket and by the end of The Ashes in 1981, he was part of English folklore for good. The series is famously remembered as ‘Botham’s Ashes’. His double of 399 runs and 34 wickets helped England win the series convincingly, but his effort at Headingley and the result that England produced in that match is something that is not achieved often. Before that, such a result was seen just once - in 1894. Botham’s contribution of 199 runs and seven wickets in the match powered England to an 18-run win after being asked to follow-on. Headingley is also a venue where Botham has the best all-round record - 668 runs at 41.75 with the bat and 33 wickets at 23.42 - among all grounds in England.
Since Botham’s heroics, England have had their fair share of ups and downs, including two 5-0
whitewashes at the hands of Australia, but also enjoyed the jubilation when they won the Urn back
in 2005 for the first time since 1986. There have been many pillars of England’s success over the last decade or so and one of them is Stuart Broad, who at 42 wickets at Headingley has the second most
wickets in England after Lord’s (94).
Broad has three five-wicket hauls at Headingley, but what stands out for him at this venue is the fact that he picks up a wicket every 44.1 deliveries, which is the best after Chester-le-Street, where his bowling strike-rate is 31.8 among stadiums in England. With James Anderson ruled out for the foreseeable future, it is up to Broad to lead England’s bowling attack.