Australia have let the third Ashes Test slip through their fingers in the most extraordinary circumstances at Headingley, with a botched run-out, a wasted review, an umpiring error and a century for the ages from Ben Stokes denying them in staggering scenes.
Australia seemed almost certain to win and retain the Ashes when England's ninth wicket fell with 73 runs still required for the hosts to successfully pursue a lofty victory target of 359.
But Stokes, with one of the greatest performances in Test history, thrashed England back from the dead with an unbeaten 135 to complete an incredible one-wicket triumph.
The closing stages were almost beyond belief.
One run behind Australia, Stokes' batting partner, No.11 Jack Leach, would have been run out easily only for Nathan Lyon to drop the ball that had been thrown in from Pat Cummins at backward point as he stood over the stumps.
Then on the next ball, Lyon and the Australians launched a huge appeal, the off-spinner down on his knees with arms spread, so convinced was he that he had trapped Stokes lbw. He was right - replays and the ball-tracking technology confirmed the ball would have hit the stumps - but umpire Joel Wilson turned the decision down and Australia, having already blown their last review with a poor referral in the previous over, could not send it to the television official.
With that over completed, Leach, who had faced 14 balls and not scored a run since coming to the middle, was then forced to front up to Cummins with England still one behind.
With the England vice-captain barely able to look at the other end, he saw off two bouncers, then fended a third past short leg as he and Stokes raced through for a single to tie up the scores.
Stokes needed only one more delivery to finish off a miraculous comeback and England's highest ever successful fourth-innings pursuit, hammering it through the covers for four to send Headingley delirious and leave Australian players' heads in their hands.
On the site of Ian Botham's legendary rescue effort against Australia in 1981 and six weeks after his central part at the climax of the astonishing World Cup final against New Zealand at Lord's, Stokes added his one-man mission with the bat to a lion-hearted performance with the ball. He may as well be handed a knighthood now.
Australia, by contrast, have been left to pick up the pieces and wonder what might have been, with the series now level at 1-1 ahead of next week's fourth Test at Old Trafford.
Stokes, who had faced 64 balls for his first two runs, fired fours and sixes to all corners of the ground as he did his best to farm the strike as he batted with Leach, plucking some jaw-dropping shots out of the limited-overs playbook, including a reverse-sweep into the stands. Australia's fielders, all scattered around the rope, were helpless amid the carnage.
The closest he came to coming unstuck until the dramatic penultimate over was when Marcus Harris put down a difficult chance running in from third man when England still needed 17 runs to win. There was another close call when an edge beat David Warner low to his left.
Australia had started the day needing seven wickets for victory, with England at that point still 203 runs away from pulling off the famous pursuit.
They made a key breakthrough within the first half hour when Joe Root's defiant captain's knock was ended on 77. It took a wonder catch from an airborne Warner - his sixth of the match - to do so, flinging himself to his left behind Tim Paine after an edge from Root had deflected onto his pad and ballooned over the wicketkeeper's head.
It was Lyon's 356th Test wicket, taking him past the tally of Dennis Lillee and leaving him behind only Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath on Australia's all-time list.
That not insignificant achievement was quickly forgotten, however, as Stokes and local hero Jonny Bairstow seized the ascendancy in the hour that followed, switching into one-day mode as the runs came thick and fast and Australia failed to take advantage of the second new ball.
As they swiftly reduced the target to less than 150 and the Headingley faithful came to life, bookmakers installed England as favourites. When the runs required went under 130 soon afterwards, analysts CricViz did the same.
Only 10 times before in the history of Test cricket had a fourth-innings target of more than 350 been successfully run down but history became irrelevant as the pressure built.
The re-introduction of Lyon slowed the bleeding in the 20 minutes before lunch and 15 minutes after it Josh Hazlewood emerged to break the 86-run stand of Stokes and Bairstow, having the Yorkshire wicketkeeper/batsman caught by Marnus Labuschagne at second slip for 36 after the pair had dragged the target down to 114 with five wickets still in hand.
With 106 still to get, England lost a sixth wicket in chaotic circumstances as Jos Buttler was run out at the non-striker's end by a brilliant direct hit from a diving Travis Head running in from midwicket.
The crowd roared as the required number went from triple to double figures before Hazlewood struck again, picking up his ninth wicket of the match, to leave England seven down and 98 short of winning when Chris Woakes spooned him to Matthew Wade at cover.
The eighth wicket came with 73 runs for England to get when Jofra Archer swung one too many times at Lyon and was caught superbly on the boundary by Head, tossing the ball back up to himself so as not to step on the rope.
The score was the same when Australia claimed the ninth wicket, that of Stuart Broad lbw to a James Pattinson yorker.
The 10th wicket seemed a matter of time but with Stokes in the driver's seat, England somehow rattled home.
- SMH/The Age