It wasn’t cricket.
Despite skyrocketing salaries and increasing stakes, professional cricket has clung to the notion that it is a game for gentlemen and ladies, and players are held to a higher standard of sportsmanship. maintain.
The ball doctor scandal and the betting scandal borrow some of the brilliance from the game’s traditions, but the sense that fair play is the supreme goal is especially true at venues in London, the traditional home of cricket. , still rising in the hands of the Lord.
But Sunday’s incident in the Ashes series between England and Australia led to bitter disputes between the partisans of both teams, comments from the Prime Minister and even an ugly scene on the sacred grounds of the Lord. rice field.
England chased a five-match series, 1–0, with the second match coming down to the wire on the fifth and final day.
England’s Jonny Bairstow ended up past the ball from the Australian bowler and then stepped forward, thinking the play was over. He was off the crease. Roughly that baserunner stepped out of the bag. However, the ball was not yet dead, so fast Australian wicketkeeper Alex Carey knocked the wicket and threw the ball, and Bairstow was called up.
No one disputed that the referee was right to call him out. The question was whether the Australians exploited Bairstow’s casual steps and not stuck to the spirit of the game.
The predominantly British crowd certainly thought so, and boos and chants of “same old Australia, always cheating” rang out on the ground. (The chant seemed to partially imply that the Australians were caught ball doctors in 2018.)
When the Australians left for their lunch break, they passed through a long room reserved for members only. It was usually a solemn shrine for cricket. There they were surrounded and confronted by angry members of the venerable Marylebone Cricket Club.
The club announced that three members had been suspended after the incident.
The reaction was quick and reached as high as the British Prime Minister’s Rishi Snak. His spokesman said Sunak believed the play violated the spirit of the game.
England captain Ben Stokes said: “For Australia, it was a game-winning moment. Do you want to win the game that way? The answer for me is no.”
Australian captain Pat Cummins understandably saw it differently. “I thought it was fair. It’s really common for keepers to do. Johnny left the crease. I’ll let the referee do the rest.”
Aided by the dismissal of Bairstow, Australia won the Test to a nearly unassailable 2–0 lead in a five-game series. It’s a deep hole. Only once will a team come back to earn ashes from a deficit like this. Australia in 1937. Test No. 3 starts Thursday.