MANCHESTER – Australia coach Justin Langer has sought to inspire his team with the tale of boxer Muhammad Ali and his stolen bike to put the Headingley setback behind them and seize back the “stolen” Ashes at Old Trafford.
Holders Australia came within one wicket of retaining the Ashes at Headingley but an unbeaten century by Ben Stokes and a string of fielding mishaps delivered England a nerve-jangling victory and levelled the series at 1-1.
Langer likened Australia's Headingley despair to the theft of Ali's bike in Louisville, Kentucky, which led to the then-12-year-old taking up boxing in a local policeman's gym.
“Champions have all had times of adversity, whether it's in business, sport or life,” Langer told reporters in Manchester ahead of the fourth test starting Wednesday.
“The ones who come back from it ... think about Muhammad Ali getting his bike stolen.