England’s Jack Leach admitted that he wanted to get a picture with Steve Smith wearing his glasses in reference to the banter the duo shared after the Headingley Test. Leach, already a crowd favourite, also admitted that he owed Nathan Lyon a lot of beers for the missed run out in that match.
The 2019 edition of the oldest rivalry in the game of cricket had quality competition, individual brilliance, sledges and banters. But at the end of it all, it was a mouth-watering affair for any spectator – a fan of either nation or just a neutral – to behold.
Perhaps one of the most extraordinary matches in all of Test cricket was the miracle-win England pulled off at Headingley. The one-wicket win may have come largely because of the brilliant Ben Stokes, but there is no bet anyone will ever forget the survival instincts showcased by England’s No.11. Leach survived 17 deliveries for a solitary run to his name with the help of repeated wipes to clear the sweat off his spectacles. In the next Test match, Leach was called upon to save the English again, in a similar scenario. However, the left-hander fell to a vicious leg-spinner from Marnus Labuschagne and the Aussies clinched the Ashes. The kangaroos did not hold back in their celebrations, with Smith pulling out his own spectacles amidst all the booze.
England pulled things back at The Oval and Leach picked up the final two wickets on Day four to seal a series draw for the hosts. Later, when both the teams got together, Smith came over to the dressing room and took a picture with Leach, both wearing glasses.
"I did think about having a picture with him, getting him in my glasses! He came to me to let me know that it wasn't about me (the celebrations in Manchester). I didn't know whether it was or wasn't. I was kind of hoping it was, and thought it was a good laugh. I was very embarrassed after Headingley when the video came out of me doing my one. I think I deserved that to be honest!" Leach said, reported Cricbuzz.
During his 17-ball stay at the crease at Headingley, there was yet another incident that added to the growing fame of the 28-year-old. Australia’s Lyon missed a simple chance to run Leach out that would’ve surely sealed the deal for them. Instead the tale was to be in favour of the Englishman who is now a firm crowd favourite.
"Yesterday, when I was batting at the end and over there they were singing 'Stand Up If You Love Jack Leach', and then they started over there (in the crowd) as well. I just thought 'what is going on?' Nathan Lyon came over and said to me 'how many beers do you owe me [for the run out]?' I think I owe him a lot,” Leach said.
“Sport is fickle and I guess you have to enjoy the good moments and not get too down about the bad moments. I have had some luck as well. Hopefully you earn that luck through hard work, I will continue working hard. That was an experience for me, seeing how competitive Ashes cricket is. Nothing crossed a line, and fair play to both teams for playing in a great spirit," he added.
Leach, who himself picked up a four-fer in the final innings of the series, said that he was captivated by the day’s big battle – Jofra Archer vs Matthew Wade. He further admitted that the Ashes overall has drained his energy levels, although he is keen on returning to his county team Somerset and help them win their first ever Championship title.
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