The row over the Ben Stokes dismissal at Lord’s is likely to be simmering when England take on Australia in a must-win third leg of the five-match one-day series at Old Trafford tomorrow.
Far from seeking to deflect the heat from fledgling Australian captain Steve Smith, former one-day skipper George Bailey has fanned the flames by questioning England captain Eoin Morgan’s insistence that he would have withdrawn the appeal.
Bailey, who led Australia in 28 Twenty20 internationals and 29 ODIs before losing his place ahead of the World Cup, also poked fun at Morgan for taking the moral high ground, questioning whether he would be so sporting over other contentious dismissals.
“It’s a big call for Eoin to say that,” Bailey said. “I assume any time a batter nicks one onto his pad and get given out lbw, or gets wrongfully given out caught behind, he’ll call them back as well.”
Bailey backed Smith and fast bowler Mitchell Starc over their stance at Lord’s. Stokes was given out “obstructing the field” after his hand prevented Starc’s attempted run-out hitting the stumps, despite arguing – with support from batting partner Morgan – that he had acted instinctively to save himself from injury.
“I think the correct decision was made,” Bailey said. “I don’t think the ball was going to hit him. The ball was going to hit the stumps and he was out of his crease. I don’t think there was any need for him to defend himself.”
Morgan, meanwhile, has not allowed England to escape criticism for their performance after subsiding to a 64-run loss to go 2-0 down in the series.
Insisting the Stokes furore could not be blamed for the result, Morgan said his players need “to learn a bit quicker” to avoid a heavy series defeat.
“We could have been hitting better lines and lengths. More often than not we bowled a bad ball, which is disappointing,” he said.
“With the bat, we made the same mistakes we did at the Rose Bowl. I’d like us to learn a little bit quicker.”
Jonny Bairstow will replace the rested Jos Buttler in the England side for the remainder of the one-day series.
Australian all-rounder Shane Watson, who will miss the rest of the series with a calf strain suffered while batting at Lord’s, has announced his immediate retirement from Test cricket. Watson, 34, won the last of his 59 caps in the opening Ashes Test at Cardiff. He scored 3,731 Test runs and took 75 wickets.
Yorkshire’s Aaron Finch has been called up to replace David Warner, who broke a thumb at Lord’s.
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