Fair play or cheating? Australian cricket team under fire once again over Ashes controversy

Jul 03, 2023
Boos and controversy surround Australia's Ashes triumph. Source: Getty

Sparks flew on the final day of the Ashes match between England and Australia as a controversial dismissal ignited tensions and fueled heated exchanges between the players on Sunday afternoon, July 2.

The controversial incident unfolded during the early stages of the final day at Lord’s.

English wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow, facing a short-pitched delivery from Cameron Green, opted to duck under the ball and proceeded to walk towards the centre of the pitch to engage in a conversation with England’s team captain Ben Stokes, who was positioned at the non-striker’s end.

Sensing an opportunity, Australian wicketkeeper Alex Carey threw the ball, hitting the stumps, leaving Bairstow dumbfounded as the third umpire ruled that he’d been stumped.

Australia’s insistence on pursuing the appeal instead of withdrawing it sparked anger from the England coach, Brendon McCullum.

When questioned about the controversial Bairstow dismissal, McCullum expressed his frustration, saying, “I can’t imagine we’ll be having a beer any time soon” after his team’s disappointing 43-run loss.

“When you become older and more mature, you realise the game and the spirit of it is something you need to protect,” McCullum said.

“You have to make decisions in the moment, and they can have effects on games and people’s characters.

“By the letter of the law, he is out. Jonny was not trying to take a run. It is one of those difficult ones to swallow and you look at the small margins, it is incredibly disappointing.”

McCullum’s sentiments were shared by Stokes, who questioned Australia’s spirit of the game.

“I think there’s quite a lot of factors that you’ve got to take into consideration,” he said.

“For me, I was asking the umpires if they had called ‘over’ and they were saying no, but then the square leg umpire and the standing umpire made movements towards it being over. But look, at the end of the day it’s out.

“If the shoe was on the other foot I would probably just have to have a little think around the spirit of the game and things like that.

“It’s happened, it’s out, and we’ve just got to move onto what’s in front of us.”

Meanwhile, Australian captain Pat Cummins has come out defending his team, saying Casey’s act was “totally fair play.”

“It’s a really common thing for keepers to do. Jonny left his crease. You leave the rest to the umpires,” Cummins said.

According to the Laws of Cricket, the ball is deemed dead when the fielding team and the batsmen no longer consider it in play. In this case, since Carey threw the ball after retrieving it, the correct decision was made by the umpires.

Bairstow himself had attempted a similar stumping chance earlier in the match when he threw the ball at the stumps while Marnus Labuschagne was batting on day three.

Despite the legitimate nature of Carey’s dismissal and Australia’s subsequent victory by a 43-run margin in the second Ashes Test, the team is now facing continuous heckling and backlash from English cricket fans.

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