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Veteran commentator says spirit of cricket went out the window “a long, long time ago”


Veteran cricket commentator Ian Smith believes Australia’s dismissal of Jonny Bairstow in the second Test was probably not in the spirit of cricket.

However, the former Kiwi star added that a gentlemanly style of cricket has been absent from the game for a “long, long time.”

Bairstow was stumped by Alex Carey for 10 on the final day, a moment where the hope of a herculean comeback for England all but evaporated.

The 33-year-old had wandered out of his crease following the last delivery of Cam Green’s over, but given the ball wasn’t yet dead, Bairstow was correctly judged out under the laws of the game.

But England’s no. 7 wasn’t trying to steal a run and the fortunate wicket for Australia saw the home side have their tail exposed.

“I don’t think he looked, Jonny Bairstow, I don’t think he looked at Alex Carey at any stage there, he didn’t turn round to see if he gloved it cleanly,” Smith told SENZ Mornings.

“It was just a weird course of events and Australia took advantage of it.

“Whether it’s in the spirit of cricket, perhaps not. But then again, what is the spirit of cricket? I mean, that the game should be played in a gentlemanly way the whole time? I think if that’s the case, that went out the window a long, long time ago.”

England captain Ben Stokes has since indicated he would have pulled the review if he were in Pat Cummins’ position, while coach Brendon McCullum also had some unfavourable comments on the Aussies.

The Australian players copped a barrage of abuse in the aftermath of the wicket from the Lord’s crowd, with multiple English personalities stating they’d never seen the home of cricket fans so aggressive.

Bairstow’s dismissal and England’s eventual demise in a 43-run loss saw Australia take a 2-0 stranglehold on the five-Test series.

The moment that has been hotly debated in the aftermath posed an eerily similar spirit of cricket question to Mitchell Starc’s catch the day before that was disallowed.

A sliding Starc dismissed Ben Duckett at fine leg with a sharp catch before using the ball to steady his slide.

Again, the laws of cricket were applied correctly in Duckett being recalled to the crease, Smith describing it as a far easier decision than what occurred on Day 5.

“He was still in the motion of trying to catch the ball, retain his balance and he used the ball sliding along the surface of the grass,” he continued.

“For me, that is clearly, clearly not out, that’s an easy one. Even though he’ll say ‘I had control of the ball’, you might have, but you used the top of the turf to control yourself with the ball in your hand at the same time.

“The fact of the matter is if you used the surface to steady yourself (with the ball in hand)… not out. That’s an easy one compared to the other one.”

The Ashes next heads to Headingley, with the third Test to kick off on Thursday.

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