England kept their Ashes hopes alive on Sunday as Harry Brook made an impressive 75 before the recalled duo of Chris Woakes and Mark Wood completed a thrilling three-wicket win over Australia in the third Test at Headingley.

The hosts’ victory reduced Australia’s lead in the series to 2-1 with two Tests to play.

England were struggling at 171-6 – still needing 80 more runs to reach a target of 251 – after Mitchell Starc had removed skipper Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow in quick succession after lunch on the fourth day.

It was then that Brook was joined by Woakes, playing his first Test since March last year.

But with Australia eyeing a win that would have given them a first Ashes series success in England in 22 years, Brook and Woakes shared a stand of 59 that took the hosts to the brink of victory.

The situation was as much a test of Brook’s sometimes fallible temperament as his undeniable talent. But it was one the 24-year-old, in just his 10th Test, passed for the most part on his Yorkshire home ground.

There was, however, a further twist when Brook fell for 75, skying Starc (5-78) to Australia captain Pat Cummins, who nearly collided with the bowler as he took the catch at mid-off.

England still required 21 to win but fast bowler Wood, fresh from his quickfire 24 in the first innings, got the target down to 12 when he hooked Cummins for six.

Player-of-the-match Wood, who took 5-34 in Australia’s first innings, then carved Starc for four in the manner of a top-order batter.

Woakes then blazed Starc through point for the winning boundary to finish on 32 not out, with Wood unbeaten on 16.

“It is absolutely too soon for all-rounder status!” Wood joked. “I’m happy down at number nine. I think that is too high and any higher I’m definitely getting a nose bleed.”

‘No hesitation’

England now have a chance to become just the second team to win a Test series from 2-0 down after the 1936/37 Australia side, inspired by batting great Don Bradman, that won the Ashes 3-2.

“No hesitation,” said Stokes when asked if England can win the series. “It’s nice to get over the line in this one and keep our hopes alive.”

Cummins, reflecting on where the game had gone against Australia, said: “Day one we lost six for 20-odd, yesterday the sun was out and we probably missed an opportunity as well. Just a couple of key moments.”

But the fast bowler insisted world Test champions Australia would have time to regroup ahead of the fourth match at Old Trafford starting on July 19.

“We’ll take a few days off and go and recharge the batteries,” said Cummins.

England resumed on 27-0 after Australia were dismissed for 224 in their second innings on a rain-marred third day.

After a promising stand of 42 from the England openers, Starc had Ben Duckett lbw for 23.

England then sent in Moeen Ali after Brook had made just three runs at number three during their first-innings’ 237.

Ali, however, was bowled for five trying to drive a 90 mph Starc delivery that flattened the left-hander’s leg stump.

Zak Crawley made a confident 44 only to fall in familiar fashion when, having driven Mitchell Marsh for four through cover point, he was caught behind next ball on the drive.

Yorkshire favourite Joe Root was then dismissed for 21 shortly before lunch when he gloved Cummins to wicket-keeper Alex Carey.

Stokes had revived England’s first innings with an 80 that rekindled memories of his stunning 135 not out in a remarkable one-wicket Test win against Australia at Headingley four years ago.

But his exit for only 13 left England 161-5 and that became 171-6 when Bairstow played on to Starc.

New batter Woakes had, however, previously rescued England from a dire position in a run chase with a stunning 84 not out as they recovered from 117-5 to reach a target of 277 in a three-wicket win over Pakistan at Old Trafford in 2020.

And he gave Brook excellent support before crunching the winning runs himself.