Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 5th day

Stokes, Johnson avoid punishment

ESPNcricinfo staff

December 9, 2013

Comments: 26 | Text size: A | A

Ben Stokes and Mitchell Johnson had to be separated by the umpire, Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 4th day, December 8, 2013
Ben Stokes and Mitchell Johnson were involved in some heated exchanges in Adelaide © AFP

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.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Meety 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!

Posted by Ishfaq333 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..

Posted by Dave1970 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.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz 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.

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury 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.

Posted by onphel1 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.

Posted by Kernas on (December 10, 2013, 2:29 GMT)

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

Posted by __PK on (December 10, 2013, 2:28 GMT)

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

Posted by Clyde 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by orangtan on (December 9, 2013, 23:50 GMT)

The Aussies are the superior team but their tactics are no different than the notorious Bodyline which caused such a brouhaha 80 years ago because dear Don was being knocked up.

Posted by dunger.bob on (December 9, 2013, 23:40 GMT)

@ disco_bob on (December 9, 2013, 18:45 GMT): "I don't understand why the bowlers can't just wear shoulder pads like gridiron footballers, that would look awesome, especially so for the slow bowlers." .. I'd like to see the bowlers in Michelin Man style suits. As a surprise weapon they should be allowed to curl up in a foetal position and bowl themselves down the pitch. "Oh that's a fast one from Johnson. He's delivered himself at 60 clicks, played quietly and he rolls slowly out to the cover fieldsman. No run".

Posted by BnH1985Fan on (December 9, 2013, 23:29 GMT)

Childish stuff -- takes away from cricket -- real men speak with their game, not by sledging or staring or other silly antics

Posted by Shaggy076 on (December 9, 2013, 22:49 GMT)

Some common sense both players were ball watching and a collision occurred, no fault of either party.

Posted by ScottStevo on (December 9, 2013, 22:29 GMT)

Stokes would do well to prove he's worthy of competing at this level before shooting his mouth off and generally acting like a chav. His ridiculous spat at Haddin with his super hard man, "What....What..What", business was completely laughable. From this performance, he's got a long, long, long way to go to convince anyone he's a test level cricketer.

Posted by kirands on (December 9, 2013, 22:25 GMT)

I watched the entire incident live and thought there was the usual exchange of words but nothing dramatic or anything worth looking into. I am surprised the two players were called to explain it. Good to know that commonsense prevailed and they were let go.

Posted by nakihunter on (December 9, 2013, 21:21 GMT)

Despite all the competitive nature of sport, the one thing I cannot understand is why the Australians need to be so combative and rude to win. they never seem to able to play well and win without behaving poorly!

Take the west indies of the late 1970 to early 1990s. They beat everyone all the time and yes hey played tough cricket. But they never behaved badly!

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on (December 9, 2013, 21:16 GMT)

'Johnson avoids being charged for being charged by non-bowling-non-batting alrounder?'. That's how the headline should read. I've no issues with Irish, South African or Kiwi players representing England (and Wales) but let's not get carried away with making non events like this into stories.

Posted by degiant on (December 9, 2013, 20:03 GMT)

Don't even want to hear about it because had the players been from WI, Pak, Bang. etc, they would have been at least a fine or worse and that IS a trend and fact.

Posted by   on (December 9, 2013, 19:51 GMT)

This is total aggression by both teams....the Ashes series in known for it and the match referee has got to be more proactive...... Martin Crowe (match referee) spoke to both teams prior to the start of the match and still the aggressive nature escalated....however, it really intensified the series and with one team up and one down, we can expect more buring on the field......congratulations Australia for another handsome victory....

Posted by jockoz on (December 9, 2013, 19:34 GMT)

Good to see some English supporters with some common sense and calling it as it was. I really think that yes we (Ozzies) have been very aggressive but I think it is in direct response to the last Ashes. England copped it then because they won. They're not this time around and arent dealing with it too well. Anyway makes for great spectacle. Really loved MoJo's stare at Anderson when he ripped his middle peg out the ground. Brilliant!

Posted by disco_bob on (December 9, 2013, 18:45 GMT)

I don't understand why the bowlers can't just wear shoulder pads like gridiron footballers, that would look awesome, especially so for the slow bowlers.

Posted by tinkertinker on (December 9, 2013, 15:00 GMT)

Why was Johnson even charged?

The bowler has the right of way and he never moved an inch, i just don't get it?

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (December 9, 2013, 14:45 GMT)

Stokes should learn his place, sledging and picking fights with seasoned professionals 1 test in is not a good look.

Posted by Front-Foot_lunge on (December 9, 2013, 14:41 GMT)

I gather, because Stokes is from New Zealand, he has a bit more fight in him. However, it's misdirected just like England's batting. Bowlers have right of way, and batsmen must avoid them when they take a run. For Stokes to shoulder barge Johnson like that, he is essentially subjecting Johnson to considerable injury risk as the bowler is usually on there follow-through and unbalanced.

Is this the only way England can be competitive now? Underhand tactics that could results in injuring an opposition team mate? As an England fan, I thought we'd moved on from the ignominy of Collingwood and the running out of opposition players are they lie injured after colliding with the bowlers.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (December 9, 2013, 14:36 GMT)

I thought this situation was pretty weird. To my eyes Mitch wasn't really even moving when they collided, Stokes pretty much just ran into him while ball watching and then decided to arc up about it. I was pretty impressed with the kid 'til he decided to turn around and act like he was the one who was hard done by in that one. Looked pretty immature to my eyes.

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