Australia v New Zealand, 1st Test, Brisbane, 5th day November 9, 2015

Smith cautions Starc after wild throw


Brendon McCullum said he 'hoped [Mitchell Starc] was trying to aim at the stumps' after his frustrated throw in the 84th over caused batsman Mark Craig to scamper out of the way © CA

Fast bowler Mitchell Starc has been warned by captain Steven Smith to let out his frustration in other ways after he threw a ball at New Zealand batsman Mark Craig on the final day at the Gabba. Smith said the incident was "pretty disappointing", and he noted that it was not the first time Starc had failed to keep his cool and thrown a ball in a batsman's direction.

The incident occurred in the 84th over as New Zealand's final pair, Craig and Trent Boult, were holding off the Australians in their push for victory before lunch. Craig had just struck two consecutive fours off Starc and the third ball of the over was pushed back to the bowler, who gave away four overthrows by directing his throw close to the batsman and not the stumps.

Starc was fined 50% of his match fee by match referee Roshan Mahanama over the incident, after he admitted breaching Article 2.2.8 of the ICC Code of Conduct, relating to throwing a ball at or near a player in an inappropriate and/or dangerous manner.

"I thought it was pretty disappointing," Smith said. "He's done it a few times and I'm going to have a word with him when we get back down in the sheds. I don't think it was necessary at the time. Hopefully he can improve and get better from that.

"I don't think he needs to apologise. I just don't think he needs to do it in the future. There wasn't an opportunity for a run-out there and I think it was just a bit of frustration. I think he needs to let it out in other ways."

There was no obvious apology from Starc to Craig, who at the time was still firmly in his crease and was some distance from the stumps. As the players left the field following Australia's win, Starc shook hands with the batsmen Craig and Boult, but again there appeared to be no exchange of words between Starc and Craig.

"I thought the game was played in really good spirits, and I'm sure the rest of the Tests will be as well," New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said after play. "We're about half an hour away from having a few beers downstairs with them as well, so that will be good fun.

"But the way I looked at it, I hoped he was trying to aim at the stumps. If that was the case and it just slipped out then so be it, we'll give him the benefit of the doubt."

The final day was also marred by a poor umpiring decision that ended McCullum's run-a-ball innings on 80; he was given out caught at slip but the ball had touched only his pad rather than his bat. New Zealand had unsuccessfully used their final review in the previous over, and they were only nine balls away from having the reviews replenished at the 80-over mark.

"That's the game," McCullum said. "Both Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth are two of the best umpires in world cricket. They're outstanding umpires who are allowed to make the occasional mistake. That's just the game that you play and you've got to cop it sweet. We had two reviews which we used for decisions that could have gone either way as well. No regrets there."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

Comments have now been closed for this article

  •   Dan Henshaw on November 10, 2015, 16:42 GMT

    "I don't think he needs to apologise..."

    Need anyone say more?

  • Jason on November 10, 2015, 14:38 GMT

    @Shaggy076, I guess the Match ref saw t in a different light, such that he removed 50% of his match fee, also the fact that the Captain has told him to cool it, is another nail in your argument.

    While I agree the bowler throwing at the stumps off his own bowling is a legitimate tactic if the batsmen was in his gound then it loses the legitimacy and is mearly the act of a petulant person.

  • carl on November 10, 2015, 11:51 GMT

    once again, the myriad of coaches and support staff havnt done their job, a very unprofessional act, starc's young and fired up, thats great but would he have done the same thing if viv richards was batting, i doubt it. last years send offs of the indian batsmen were a bit over the top also, let the ball do the talking (preferably during a legitimate delivery), also unprofessional for capt smith to tell the cricketing world that he will have a word to the naughty little schoolboy, and that the naughty schoolboy doesnt have to apologise to the bad batting man from nz coz he had just him for 2 fours, aw, more media training for capt smith please, the biggest issue is that it sends a message to young boys and girls playing the game that maybe its ok to do this sort of stuff..contracts! contracts! get ya aussie cricketer contracts, only 9.99 with any megameal purchase, contracts!

  • sam on November 10, 2015, 4:43 GMT

    @Saffant - How about the Dale Steyn-Benn 'spitting' incident in WI? Would love to hear your views on that. By the by I'm not condoning Starc's rather needless act. I like game being played in good spirit.

  • Reg on November 10, 2015, 2:39 GMT

    Here's a fun idea: a ball thrown AT a batman could be treated as a delivery, but of course it would automatically be a no-ball, (so runs) and if it threatened the batsman it could be treated as a beamer (so intimidatory) and a repetition could lead to the bowler being stood down for the rest of the innings. And yes the loss of half the match fee is fun too . . .

  • Affan on November 10, 2015, 1:33 GMT

    Seeing how starc has a knack for such disruptive behavior in the PAST (IPL against Pollard, this incident and I'm sure others that smith hasn't mentioned), the benefit of the doubt would be with Stokes on that incident.

  • Affan on November 10, 2015, 1:31 GMT

    It's not the finger. It's the red logo on his shirt.

  • Graham on November 9, 2015, 23:44 GMT

    Quite disgraceful that some people are bringing up a legitimate run out attempt in order to slander Starc. THis was poor but the Stokes one there was absolutely nothing untoward.

  • Matt on November 9, 2015, 23:18 GMT

    @edfuller has easily the most interesting point of all the comments here.

  • Orang on November 9, 2015, 22:52 GMT

    @TheBigBoodha, with a pseudonym like yours , you shouldn't be losing your cool. All the evidence points to Stokes taking evasive action from a projectile hurled at him from 15 yards, but then you guys do see everything from a Down Under perspective.

    Hats off to Steve Smith for his open condemnation of Starc's action yesterday; this will hopefully bring about a refreshing change in attitude.

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