England's Ashes double-standard exposed amid Jonny Bairstow furore

The controversial stumping of Jonny Bairstow has left England furious - but cricket fans have pointed out they don't have much of a case to argue.

Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow react after the latter's wicket in the second Ashes Test.
Jonny Bairstow's controversial dismissal on day five at Lord's sparked outrage among England fans, but studious cricket die-hards have they have no right to the moral high ground. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

As England indulge in a collective dummy-spit over the nature of wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow's second innings dismissal at the hands of Australian counterpart Alex Carey, studious cricket fans have started to unravel the stance taken in response by captain Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum. Australia took a 2-0 lead in the Ashes after winning by 43 runs at Lord's, with the subsequent debate about the 'spirit of cricket' insufficient to change the result.

Amusingly for many Australian fans, the notion of England invoking such an argument less than 24 hours after succesfully appealing to have Mitchell Starc's boundary line catch to dismiss Ben Duckett waved off proved comical. Many were quick to point out how Bairstow had attempted a similar stumping against Marnus Labuschagne on day three - despite Stokes' suggestion after the game that he would have withdrawn the appeal had England been in the same spot.

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“Would I have wanted to win a game in that manner? The answer for me is no,” Stokes said. Fellow former England captain Alistair Cook also bemoaned the outcome, saying it had left a 'bitter' feeling among spectators. Many fans and cricket observers however, have pointed out the numerous times in recent years that England have betrayed their seemingly stoic commitment to the 'spirit' of the game.

Stuart Broad, best remembered by many Australian fans for refusing to walk after obviously nicking a shot through to the keeper back in 2013, was quick to inform Carey that his dismissal of Bairstow would be the defining one of his career. He conveniently forgot he was at the centre of a similar appeal against New Zealand's Colin de Grandhomme last year.

On that occasion, the Kiwi batsman was standing outside his crease during an LBW shout, only to be sent packing after England ran him out. McCullum, who labelled Bairstow's dismissal the 'worst thing' he'd seen in cricket and said he'd hesitate to have a beer with the Australian side as a result, also has form of his own.

On no less than three occasions - against Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan in 2006, Zimbabwe's Chris Mpofu in 2005 and England's Paul Collingwood in 2009 - McCullum threw down the stumps of a batsman otherwise not aware that the ball had not been declared dead by the on-field umpire.

In a one-day match against Ireland in 2019, England's keeper Ben Foakes secured a stumping against Ireland's Andy Balbirnie, holding on to the ball for a remarkably long time, waiting for the batsman to lift the foot he had grounded behind the crease for several seconds. The move was hailed as 'quick thinking' in a highlight still available on the ECB website.

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England fans erupted with the chant 'same old Aussies, always cheating' ringing around the crowd. In horrible scenes, the Aussies were met with vitriol in the prestigious Long Room at Lord's with Usman Khawaja calling out a fan.

The tension was frosty around the ground with all eyes on the handshake. After the match, Stokes was interviewed and the captain claimed he would have withdrawn his appeal if he was in Australia's position.

When this was put to Cummins on BBC Sport, the Aussie captain didn't entertain the idea after a brutal slap down of the English backlash.

Australian players celebrate in the moments after Jonny Bairstow stumped by Alex Carey.
Jonny Bairstow was stumped by Alex Carey in a moment that has sparked debates over the 'spirit of cricket'. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

"OK," he said. In a separate interview after match, Cummins said the dismissal was legitimate. "I think Carey saw it happen a few balls previously. There was no pause. Catch it and throw it at the stumps. I thought it was totally fair play," Cummins said.

"That's how the rule is. Some people might disagree, just like the catch yesterday, the rule is there."

At the time, England players were left in shock with captain Ben Stokes talking to the Australian players in disbelief as the umpires reviewed the footage. After the match, Stokes claimed he wouldn't have wanted to win a test match in that manner.

"Jonny was in his crease and left his crease to come out and have the conversation, in between overs, like every batsman does," Stokes said in his post-match press conference. "If I was the fielding captain at the time, I would have put more pressure on the umpires to ask them what their decision was around the over.

"Then I would have had a think 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."

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