NOTTINGHAM: England allrounder Ben Stokes was trying to keep his feet on the ground after taking five wickets to bowl England to the brink of victory in the Ashes series on Friday.
Stokes took three quick wickets late in the afternoon session to quash a brief Australian fightback and two more victims late in the day helped England restrict the touring side to 241 for seven at the close, still 90 runs behind the hosts.
“We’re in an unbelievable position,” Stokes told reporters.
“The crucial thing is that we go out tomorrow and make sure we don’t have to get the pads on. Their tail wagged at bit at Edgbaston so, hopefully, we can just get the job done.”
Stokes took advantage of favourable conditions in a spell of 3/16 off seven overs around tea that swung the game England’s way after Australia openers Chris Rogers and David Warner had added 113 for the first wicket.
“The ball was swinging so much that I didn’t want to be too predictable,” the 24-year-old said after his second five-wicket haul in Tests.
“I bowled the odd cross-seamer which didn’t swing, hopefully making them think it was going to swing.”
Australia fast bowler Mitchell Starc, who took career-best figures of 6/111 before England declared on 391 for nine, tried to remain positive.
“It’s been a tough couple of days of cricket but we are still alive. We’ll come out again tomorrow and fight as hard as we can that’s the Australian way,” he said.
“Taking six wickets was special with this being an Ashes series, but I’d rather we were heading into day three in a better position.”
England lead the five-match series 2-1.