Ben Stokes says his Headingley heroics will count for nothing if England fail to win back the Ashes.

Stokes is still coming to terms with his match-winning century on Sunday that has made him part of Ashes folklore for the rest of his life.

But with two tests to go and Australia consistently exposing England's fragile batting line-up, Stokes knows his performance will be an empty achievement if his side do not improve at Old Trafford next week.

"I don't think it's completely sunk in; the main reason is we have two games to go," Stokes told Sky Sports News. "If we don't get the Ashes back, what will it feel like? I will only take real satisfaction from the innings if we win back the Ashes. It was an amazing week in Headingley and something that will be very hard to forget, but we still have a long way to go.


"Momentum is huge in sport and I'm sure when Stuart Broad got out, Australia would have thought they would have the Ashes by the end of the day, so we go into the next match with a lot of confidence."

Stokes praised the contribution of England's last man and new cult hero Jack Leach, who faced 17 deliveries for his one run at Headingley.

We have two games to go. I will only take real satisfaction from the innings if we win back the Ashes.

"It was a pretty iconic picture, Jack Leach cleaning his glasses after every ball and the video of him running down the pitch has gone viral as well," Stokes added.

"He has to take a lot of credit from the game because the 17 balls he faced are probably the most crucial he will face in his career."

England will announce the squad for the fourth test after James Anderson's second-XI match for Lancashire this week, which ends today.

Anderson bowled 20 overs on the first day against Durham in Chester, but play was washed out yesterday. The selectors want to be sure he gets through that match unscathed before pairing him with Jofra Archer.

They look set to name the same batting line-up, but Jason Roy will drop down the order after being given one more chance to open at Headingley and failing.

Stokes' performance has caught the public mood.


Crowds at Vitality Blast matches have been chanting "Shoes off if you love Ben Stokes", a song that was shouted loudly at Headingley on Sunday.

"The crowd were so, so loud and they were during the whole four days. We have an amazing support and I didn't get told until after about everyone taking their shoes off, but they are your 12th man," said Stokes. "We have a responsibility to inspire the next generation. If we win the Ashes, hopefully it will produce more England cricketers over the next 20 years."

- Telegraph Group Ltd