Former Australian cricket legend Ricky Ponting has drawn parallels between England’s skipper Ben Stokes and the iconic Indian cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni, highlighting their extraordinary match-winning abilities. Ponting hailed Stokes for consistently rising to the occasion in pressure situations, much like Dhoni did in his prime.

Defending WTC champions Australia continued their dominant run, clinching a 43-run victory over England in the second Ashes Test. The hosts’ Bazball strategy faltered against the formidable Australian team.

Stokes, once again, exhibited his match-winning prowess in the second Ashes Test at Lord’s, playing a remarkable innings of 155 runs off 214 balls, almost single-handedly propelling England to a series-leveling victory. This was not the first time Stokes had inflicted damage upon Australia, as he had previously unleashed an unbeaten 135 runs during the 2019 Ashes, leading his team to a sensational one-wicket triumph at Leeds.

“I think any international player is under pressure anytime they walk out to play, but Ben batting in the middle order or later order like he does, probably finds himself in more match-winning opportunity situations than some others might”, remarked Ponting during an episode of the ICC Review.

“The first one that comes to mind is maybe someone like a Dhoni, who’s there at the end in a lot of T20 games, and finishing games, whereas Ben’s doing it at the end of Test matches, and there’s not, probably not many, many players through the history of the game that have found themselves in that sort of role and are there at the end winning games, and especially as a captain.”

Ponting took a journey back to 2019, highlighting the striking similarities between Ben Stokes’ recent innings and his memorable performance in the Headingley Test.

“I thought and everyone probably thought he could do it again because we’ve seen it happen before, but this was probably slightly more runs than they were chasing.” Reflecting on the unfolding events that had a striking similarity to the Headingley match, Ponting noted, “In the back of everyone’s minds, I think once it started playing out the way that it was and how many similarities there were to Headingley in 2019… Steve Smith dropped him… and he was dropped on 116 by Marcus Harris at Headingley. So those sort of ghosts of the past kept coming back out.”

With the third Ashes Test scheduled at the same venue, both teams will be eager to make their mark. England will aim for a comeback, hoping to narrow the series gap, while Australia will have their sights set on a series-clinching victory.

Last Updated on July 5, 2023