Ben Stokes has admitted that he could not watch the balls which Jack Leach faced as England secured Ashes heroics.

Stokes smashed 135 runs to inspire England to the most unlikely of victories in the third Test - keeping hopes of winning back the urn alive.

Michael Vaughan branded Leach the "greatest number 11 ever" in his punditry, but Stokes has admitted that he was in pain watching him trying to aid him in England's run chase with just one wicket remaining.

Stokes told BBC Test Match Special: "I don't know [what I've done]! It hasn't quite sunk in, I know we've won the game but I'm pretty tired. A great day.

"We came in to the day with a chance but it's never over until it's over. At nine down with 70 left it was obvious what was to be done. I only got nervous when we were down below 10 needed but I had my pitching wedge at a perfect length.

Stokes and Leach celebrate their winning innings
England secured a remarkable victory

"I couldn't look when Jack Leach was batting. I was just waiting for the reaction of the crowd! It's amazing.

"The pressure Jack was under, he faced a crucial 15-odd balls. Leachy had to stay in there - he's got some serious balls."

Stokes later added to Sky Sports: "When it got down to 20s, I was thinking I should rein it in now. But in the 70s, 60s, 50s, I had to really try to go. I was in the zone, I knew what I needed to do.

"It was unbelievable, it was one I'll never forget. I've got to try to let it sink in now because I don't think I'll be involved with something that again."

Australia skipper Tim Paine refused to get caught up on a controversial umpiring decision which would have won the tourists the game had it have been correct.

Nathan Lyon appealed for LBW on Stokes with England requiring just two more runs.

Stokes was the hero for England on a remarkable day of Test cricket
Stokes takes the plaudits as he walks off the pitch

But with no appeals left and the umpire saying it was not out, they were left to rue the incorrect call.

He said: "Ah look, it happens mate. Ben Stokes has played one of the great innings. It's got to sting but we have to trust our process, we were very close. We are on the right track and we have two more chances to win the Ashes.

"I've seen Stokesy do it too many times, he played out of his skin and he had a bit of luck. The lbw shout is irrelevant, we can't control it, it was given not out.

"The whole series has been pretty good to watch. We could have batted them right out of the game and we left the door open for them."