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Jonny Bairstow breaks silence on Lord’s stumping as he reopens Ashes wounds

Bairstow also suggested Australia were deceitful in the way they went about trying to convince umpires they had made clean catches

Lawrence Ostlere
Tuesday 24 October 2023 11:01 BST
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Related video: Bairstow reflects on big knock on day three of fourth Ashes Test in July

Jonny Bairstow has broken his lengthy silence on his controversial stumping during the second Ashes Test at Lord’s and accused Australia of gamesmanship when taking contentious catches in the drawn series.

Bairstow was at the centre of the incident which ignited the Ashes, when Australian wicketkeeper Alex Carey opportunistically stumped the England batsman after he had stepped out of his crease at the end of an over.

The umpire had not called “over” and so Bairstow was given out by the rules of the game. But England accused their rivals of failing to play within the spirit of cricket, and captain Ben Stokes later said that he would have retracted the appeal had he been in the position of his counterpart, Pat Cummins.

On reflection, Carey later said he had no regrets over the incident and would do it again. “If there was an opportunity to get a stumping, I definitely would. To see how much has played out since then it’s been a little bit surprising. There’s been some nasty stuff been said but it is the Ashes – there was nasty stuff said before that as well.”

But speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Bairstow said he was not “fair game” as he was not trying to gain an advantage by stepping out of his crease.

“If you’re starting out of your crease, you’re trying to gain an advantage,” he said. “If you start in your crease, and not trying to take a run, and you finish in your crease... That’s the bit – if you try to gain an advantage, then it’s fair game. But if you’re starting in your crease, you’ve ducked, tap, tap, scratched. I’ve even dragged my bat, looked up, and then gone.

“I’ve never seen it happen from someone starting in their crease. I don’t think you want that filtering down into kids’ cricket. Look at the Mankads and everything like that. You want young kids to be out there batting and having fun, not thinking about whether the fielders might do this or that.

“It might tarnish people’s enjoyment of the game that we’re trying to get kids into. You want to be out there batting and bowling, rather than thinking about the 11 different ways you can get someone out.”

Several of Australia’s players have since poked fun at Bairstow over the stumping. In interviews for The Grade Cricketer, Mitchell Marsh and Usman Khawaja claimed some of Bairstow’s England teammates were laughing with Australia’s players as Bairstow refused to eat lunch after the incident.

And Marnus Labuschagne described a “steaming” Bairstow in the dining room after the stumping. He recalled: “The Sky crew (broadcasters) knew that Jonny was in there, and they just replayed it on the screen. And, as you do, everyone’s watching. Obviously, seeing us all watch, he’s like, ‘Are you guys happy with that?’

“David Warner is spitting out his chicken, and goes, ‘Yeah, very’.”

Bairstow has also suggested Australia were deceitful in the way they went about trying to convince umpires they had made clean catches.

“There’s conjecture around everything,” he said. “Fingers underneath the ball when the ball’s still touching the ground. Celebrating when the ball has touched the ground. Marnus [Labuschagne] celebrated at Edgbaston at short leg. Then the one that Rooty [Joe Root] fell to at Lord’s, when [Steve Smith] said his fingers were underneath the ball. However, they were splayed widely. But that was given out, that’s fine – it’s part and parcel of the game and the decisions the umpires give.”

Bairstow is currently part of the England one-day side struggling at the Cricket World Cup and on the verge of elimination. England next play Sri Lanka on Thursday in Bangalore.

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