Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 5th day December 9, 2013

Stokes, Johnson avoid punishment

ESPNcricinfo staff

On-field flashpoints have been a feature of the first two Tests between Australia and England but Ben Stokes and Mitchell Johnson have avoided punishment for their coming together on the fourth day in Adelaide. Shoulders collided when Stokes ran past Johnson while batting, and the pair were later separated by umpire Kumar Dharmasena, but they were found not guilty of breaching the ICC's code of conduct.

The match referee, Jeff Crowe, who had spoken to both teams before the second Test about standards of behaviour, conducted separate hearings with Stokes and Johnson after the match. Both pleaded not guilty to the charges, relating to "inappropriate and deliberate physical contact between players" in the ICC's code of conduct, and Crowe was satisfied that the mid-pitch encounter was not intentional, although they were warned against a repeat.

Stokes, the Durham allrounder, put in a combative showing on his Test debut. Having been denied his maiden Test wicket in Australia's first innings, when he had Brad Haddin caught behind off a no ball, Stokes struck up a lively discussion with Haddin at the end of the over in which the batsman was recalled. He was also given a send-off by Ryan Harris after a stubborn, 90-ball stay in England's second knock.

"I am satisfied in respect of both players that their physical contact was not deliberate," Crowe said. "Both players, however, could have done more to avoid each other and they have been so counselled. We do not condone physical contact, but recognise that on occasions such contact could be accidental."

The charges were brought by on-field umpires, Kumar Dharmasena and Marais Erasmus, third umpire Tony Hill and fourth umpire Simon Fry, with suspension for a Test the maximum possible sanction. Instead, Stokes and Johnson could face each other again in a few days time, in the third Test starting in Perth on Friday, with England 2-0 down and chasing a way back into the series.

Australia's captain, Michael Clarke, was fined 20% of his match fee after the first Test in Brisbane, after his suggestion that James Anderson should prepare to have his arm broken whilst facing Mitchell Johnson was picked up by the stump microphone. Australia's aggressive approach has been a clear element of their strategy to regain the Ashes - Johnson's pace no small part of that - and tempers flared again as England battled in vain to avoid another heavy defeat in Adelaide, with Johnson, Stokes, Stuart Broad, Matt Prior and Clarke involved in various exchanges on Sunday.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on December 11, 2013, 7:18 GMT

    @onphel1 on (December 10, 2013, 3:20 GMT) - naive to think that a bowler should skip out of the way of a batsmen. The batsmen has plenty of room to run past & guaranteed if bowlers had to get out of the way of batsmen there would be collisions from players deviating the same way! @Kernas on (December 10, 2013, 2:29 GMT) - I agree. Stokes should of been given a reprimand & maybe a fine. He made physical contact with a player - it was not an accident - he made no effort to twist his upper body to lesson the impact or even attempted to deviate to avoid the collision as MJ was stationery. @Dave1970 on (December 10, 2013, 5:09 GMT) "...Johnson could have said watch out to Stokes if he thought that contact was going to be made..." LOL - MJ probably said a lot more than that. You seem to think that MJ would of had more than 1 second to ascertain what Stokes was up to. Unreal!

  • Ishfaaq on December 10, 2013, 8:45 GMT

    Okay come on now.. We all know neither of them were innocent of butting each other. But we've all seen worse scenes on a cricket field. Not that long ago at the Gabba for example. Any discussion of this sort should be reserved when the line is crossed. No one - Johnson nor Stokes - set a toe across the line. Neither of them complained. Shouldn't bother anyone else..

  • Dave on December 10, 2013, 5:09 GMT

    Neither play deserved to be reported for that clash. The only error that resulted in the clash was Stokes not being fully aware of his surroundings.

    Johnson has the right to finish following through as per normal - if he deviated unnecessarily or unusually and contributed to the clash then one could argue that it was deliberate. If Stokes was watching Johnson and deviated closer to him and the contact was made - one could argue it as deliberate.

    Johnson could have said watch out to Stokes if he thought that contact was going to be made but that is polite thing to do, not mandatory.

    At the end of the day I applaud Stokes for standing his ground and giving a bit of mongrel back to Johnson; and I applaud Johnson for finally getting some mongrel towards the opposition.

    So long as they keep it within reason, it makes for fantastic viewing.

  • Xiong on December 10, 2013, 4:39 GMT

    @onphel1 That's not how it works. Sorry bud. Bowler has to run in and bowl at full pace, then he's stuck in his follow through for about half the length of the pitch. The batsman plays the ball, with real forward momentum, then has the option to run. It's definitely not Mitch's fault that Stokes was busy ball watching like an amateur and ran into him, in fact the law is very specific, the bowler has right of way and as long as he does not move off his line he is not in the wrong. In fact if Mitch had moved to his right and Stokes tried to go around him to his right hand side and they collided, Mitch would then be at fault.

  • richard on December 10, 2013, 4:26 GMT

    well I think it depends how your feeling.. Broad thought that because every limb on his body was aching that gives him the right to sledge Johnson.

  • Sam on December 10, 2013, 3:20 GMT

    I just don't get it when bowlers don't make way for the batters - breaking the motion of the batter running is an obstructive action and hence the bowler should be punished.

  • Andrew on December 10, 2013, 2:29 GMT

    Jonnson did nothing wrong. Stokes did. Crowe erred badly.

  • Paul on December 10, 2013, 2:28 GMT

    Avoid punishment? They didn't avoid punishment, they were found not guilty. There's a big difference.

  • James on December 10, 2013, 1:55 GMT

    I am not sure that the aggression is against the opposition. I cannot imagine why what was said to you or how your were stared at made any difference to you. What it might do is help the mojo of the person delivering it.

  • Blythesville on December 10, 2013, 0:55 GMT

    If this was the West Indies, the entire team would be fined and Ramdin suspended for 2 games.

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