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Ben Stokes said he would have withdrawn the appeal if he was in Pat Cummins’ shoes, stating that’s not the way he would want to win.
Jonny Bairstow’s controversial dismissal on the fifth day turned out to be the defining moment of the Lord’s Test in the ongoing Ashes as England went down by 43 runs despite a Ben Stokes masterclass. The dismissal didn’t sit well with the England team and the media as even Stokes said he would not want to win in that manner.
England were going well in their mountain of a run-chase of 371, having lost only Ben Duckett in the opening session. The incident in question happened just before lunch on the final ball of the 52nd over when Jonny Bairstow ducked a Cameron Green bouncer. Bairstow wandered out of the crease immediately, assuming the ball was dead. Alex Carey had thrown the ball towards the stumps and it dislodged the bails as Australians appealed. Third umpire adjudged Bairstow out as he was out of the crease.
Lord’s Stadium rang with boos after the dismissal and it even led to an ugly altercation from the members of the Lord’s Long Room with the Australian players. Things turned heated even on the field as Stuart Broad got into the action immediately when he went to bat, having a continuous chatter with multiple Australia players.
According to law 20.1.2 of the MCC’s Laws of Cricket, “the ball shall be considered to be dead when it is clear to the bowler’s end umpire that the fielding side and both batters at the wicket have ceased to regard it as in play.”
Carey, who had noticed Bairstow frequently leaving his crease prematurely, seized the opportunity to dislodge the stumps and catch the England right-hander out of his ground. The fielding team clearly regarded the ball as still active, making it a live ball rather than a dead one.
Talking about the incident, England captain Ben Stokes admitted that it was out by the laws but also pointed out a grey area. He disputed that the umpires make a movement immediately after the ball as if it’s an over without calling it.
“When is it justified that the umpires have called over? Is the on-field umpires making movement, is that signifying over? I’m not sure. Jonny was in his crease then out of his crease. I am not disputing the fact it is out because it is out,” Stokes said on BBC’s TMS.
Stokes talked about the spirit of the game and said he would not want to win in that manner. Asked if he would’ve withdrawn the appeal, Stokes said yes without a hesitation.
“If the shoe was on the other foot I would have put more pressure on the umpires and asked whether they had called over and had a deep think about the whole spirit of the game and would I want to do something like that. For Australia it was the match-winning moment. Would I want to win a game in that manner? The answer for me is no,” Stokes added.
“It was totally fair play. That’s how the rule is.”: Pat Cummins
Pat Cummins, the winning captain obviously had a different view as he felt Carey was well within the rules to attempt that dismissal. During the post-match presentation amidst heavy boos from the crowd, Cummins told Sky TV that Carey saw Bairstow leave the crease immediately after the ball was past him several times.
“Carey saw it happen a few balls previously, three or four balls previously, and there’s no pause, catch it, straightaway and throw at the stumps. I thought it was totally fair play. That’s how the rule is. Some people might disagree. That’s how I saw it,” said Cummins.
In his post-match press conference, Cummins added that Bairstow had tried the same move when keeping himself and it’s very common for kepperd to do it.
“You see Jonny do it all the time. He did it on day one to Davey Warner. He did it in 2019 to Steve [Smith]. It’s a really common thing for keepers to do if they see a batter keep leaving their crease. So Kez [Carey], full credit to him. He saw the opportunity. I think Jonny did it a few balls beforehand. Rolled it at the stumps. Jonny left his crease. You leave the rest to the umpires.”
Following the incident on the field, Ben Stokes went absolutely berserk and smashed a magnificent 155 to take his side closer to the target. It was an unbelievable effort from him, giving the Aussies flashbacks of the Headingley. He smashed 38 runs off just 16 balls since the dismissal to complete his hundred and continued his onslaught. In the end, it wasn’t enough as they went 2-0 down and now need to win three in a row.
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