The sportsmanship of the Aussie team has been questioned following the dismissal of England batsman Jonny Bairstow on Sunday’s final day of the second test at Lord’s.
With England on 193-5 and chasing a mammoth target of 371, Australia wicketkeeper Alex Carey underarmed the ball at the stumps after Bairstow left his crease at the end of an over.
While the dismissal was valid by the letter of the sport’s laws, many have questioned whether it undermined the much-cherished “spirit of the game” – as witnessed by the long and loud booing from the Lord’s crowd and Australian players being verbally abused by MCC members in the stadium’s usually staid Long Room.
England eventually lost by 43 runs to trail 2-0 in the five-test series.
The Australian media has responded to the furore by suggesting England just sucks it up.
Andrew Webster, writing in The Sydney Morning Herald, said: “The first rule of MCC Fight Club is know the rules of cricket...I would have thought membership to the most famous club in cricket meant you understood the laws of the game.”
Meanwhile, Gideon Haigh in The Australian similarly suggested that “puce-faced MCC snobs should learn their own rules”.
They went further on the front page of The West Australian, which stunted Stokes up as nappy-wearing, dummy-sucking baby and boomed: “Poms take whingeing to new level with ‘cheating’ drivel.”
“Crybabies,” the splash thundered.
But Stokes took to Twitter in an apparent attempt to defuse the situation.
“That’s definitely not me, since when did I bowl with the new ball,” he said while quote-tweeting the front page, and referencing the depiction of the shiny new cricket ball and the fact he is not an opening bowler.
Stokes had said on Sunday he was keen to move on from the incident but added he would not want to win in such a fashion at the end of an over.
“The first thing that needs to be said is, it is out,” he said.
“If I was the fielding captain I would have put a lot more pressure on the umpires to ask them what their decision was around the over and around the spirit of the game and would I want to potentially win a game with something like that happening – and it would be no.”
Australia captain Pat Cummins has defended his team over Bairstow’s dismissal, and insisted there was no “sneakiness”.
“I thought it was fair. You see Jonny (Bairstow) do it all the time, he did it on day one to David Warner, he did it in 2019 to Steve (Smith),” Cummins told reporters.
“It’s a really common thing for keepers to do if they see a batter keep leaving their crease. Cares (Carey), full credit to him, he saw the opportunity, rolled it at the stumps, Jonny left his crease. You leave the rest to the umpires.
“It was all one motion, there was no pause or sneakiness about it.”