Test cricket concluded for the summer on the weekend, with a series victory for Australia over Pakistan. Despite the scoreline, the cricket was tense and exciting and all three tests had elements of doubt as to the victor until the final day of the match. More on this unhappy topic below, when we come to the third test of the Pakistan series in Sydney, but for the moment to the cricket itself. The first test of the series was in Brisbane, a day night test, which all came down to the final day, when the tension had me cleaning the cupboards in my kitchen unable to look as Pakistan homed in.
It was worse than that.
But before we talk about the horror moment that cost Australia the third Ashes Test at Leeds, let's be generous and admit that the Poms won it due to an unstoppable force of nature called Ben Stokes. What the England all-rounder did was unthinkable.
Just for starters, he: Made not out off balls, an impeccably crafted and paced innings in which -- get this -- he scored just three runs off his first 73 balls. Scored 74 runs of the 76 run final wicket partnership between him and Jack Leach, accelerating and farming the strike like a god, and; Struck eight sixes, the most ever by a batsman in a successful fourth-innings chase.
But forget Stokes for a moment. Australia was complicit in its own defeat in numerous ways. He's stoked. Well, someone had to say it.
Photo: Getty Images. This set a tone. But no moment was worse than the wasted DRS review by skipper Tim Paine which prevented a certain victory for Australia. Pat Cummins sent a ball angled in to England's plucky number 11 batsman Jack Leach.
It hit him on the pads, but clearly pitched well outside leg stump -- and according to cricket's laws, you can't be out LBW if that happens. Paine reviewed it anyway. It was, of course, denied. This tweet is unavailable or no longer exists. And that meant Australia had exhausted its quota of reviews.
From that point on, it would be the ump's decision only. No more referrals. Exactly one over later, the lack of a review came to bite them. Nathan Lyon trapped Stokes absolutely plumb in front.
The ball pitched on leg stump and was straightening to hit middle and leg, about three-quarters of the way up. Image: Channel 9. Just outy outy outy out. Out to the naked eye, and out to the technology.
Bu umpire Joel Wilson -- who in the first Test of this series officially got more decisions wrong than any umpire in the DRS era -- inexplicably shook his head and kept his finger down. And because Australia had wasted its review, there was no court of higher appeal.
And four balls later the match was over. Umpire Joel Wilson was not so nice to Garry. Just one ball earlier, Nathan Lyon missed an easy run out which would have ended things. A bit earlier, Marcus Harris grassed a catch. But players make physical errors in pressure situations. What most Aussie fans are finding it hard to cop this morning are the errors of judgement shown by our captain Tim Paine -- for his wasted review -- and umpire Joel Wilson, for yet another officiating howler.