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'Sir' Ben Stokes and a cheeky welcome for Australia in Manchester

All hail (Sir) Ben Stokes, England's knight in white flannel Getty Images

All the world's cricketers walked into a bar. The LOLs, the chatter, and the occasional mini-brawls, they were endless. And the news cycle was never the same again! Welcome to ESPNcricinfo's Social Buzz, your go-to destination for all the bantz, the jousts, and little bit of eavesdropping from the social media playground and beyond.

"Sir" Ben Stokes and a cheeky welcome for Australia in Manchester

Sep 3

It's been over a year and a half since the ball-tampering scandal at Newlands, but do you think anyone in England wishes to give it a rest? The Manchester Traffic Control is the latest to try to wind up the Aussies with some "abrasive" messages.

Manchester Traffic Control aren't averse to the occasional sports pun. Five months ago, when FC Barcelona came visiting to Old Trafford for a Champions League game, fans were greeted with the message that traffic during "pique time will be Messi"

Gilchrist wonders about the hat-trick that might not have been

Sep 1

On Saturday night, Jasprit Bumrah produced another of his astonishing Test spells in Jamaica, bagging a hat-trick en route to a six-for. It was a hat-trick that so nearly didn't happen, after Bumrah considered the third wicket unworthy of an appeal for lbw against Roston Chase. Thanks to the wonders of the DRS, and one of those Virat Kohli reviews that came despite only having a side-on view from the slip cordon. The decision was overturned, and Bumrah became only the third Indian to get a Test hat-trick.

The first one came in 2001, in that Kolkata Test, as Harbhajan Singh took out Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and Shane Warne. "The ball pitched outside leg stump. Please reverse your on-field decision, Shyam", the third umpire's voice would've bellowed on our TV screens had DRS been around back in the day. It was just 18 years ago, but cricket didn't even have two neutral umpires at the turn of the millennium. We feel for you, Gilly, but Harbhajan's name's etched in the record books. Fair play to him.

New Zealanders leave Katunayake in an ambulance

Don't worry, no one's hurt. It's just that their team bus broke down, leaving the team to divide up and find room in an army vehicle, a mini-van and, for some, an ambulance. Lasith Malinga was also travelling with the convoy, but he had a significantly more luxurious ride. The New Zealand squad and support staff didn't seem too perturbed. After all, it's not even close to the worst thing that's happened to them this summer.

Who's Jimmy Neesham's favourite Indian cricketer?

Aug 28

James Neesham's status as cricket's biggest social media superstar might have been usurped by Jofra Archer's Twitter archive, but it's fair to say the New Zealand allrounder continues to set the pace. Neesham's social media accounts have been an unending stream of puns, hilarious digs and no-holds-barred hot takes on everything from within and outside the sport over the years.

On Tuesday, from a long trans-continental flight to play in the upcoming CPL, Neesham did an Ask Me Anything (AMA) on his Instagram story. Soon enough, the inevitable question - a trap more than a question: Kohli or Dhoni? Rohit or Bumrah? Who is Neesham's favourite Indian cricketer?

Of course, Neesham has been around long enough to know what follows any answer to such questions. His answer should surprise no one.

Stokes more famous than Taylor Swift for a hot minute

Aug 28

Forget the World Cup final or the Headingley chase. Can Ben Stokes have done cricket a greater service than becoming a more searched for term on Wikipedia than the world-famous pop star for a brief while on the fourth day of the second Ashes Test? The ICC was certainly delighted, going pun-crazy referencing Swift's songs when announcing the search results. Now, We Are Never Ever Getting that desperate.

Hershy Bru becomes an Alia Bhatt fan

Aug 27

Bollywood and cricket are so intertwined in India that it's rarely newsworthy when actors and cricketers interact with each other on social media. But this one stopped us mid-scroll: Herschelle Gibbs used a GIF featuring Bollywood actor Alia Bhatt without knowing who she was.

Bhatt responded with a cricket-themed GIF and Twitter bantz ensued, Gibbs even slipping in a reference to his six sixes record.

Jason Gillespie (tries to) reveal his favourite Test innings

Aug 27

In a week when everyone has been arguing about where Ben Stokes' magnificent 135* stands in the pantheon of Test cricket's greatest innings, Jason Gillespie put out his 'five', without a top entry.

And who'd blame a fast bowler for not missing an opportunity to plug his unbeaten Test double hundred? Turns out most of Twitter was trigger-happy to do so, going after him for omitting - among other innings - VVS Laxman's 281, Kusal Perera's 153* and even Jack Leach's 1*.

Obviously, this is how that ended. We hear you, Jason.

Ben Stokes, what have you done?

Aug 25

Stokes' exploits in Leeds had England's former cricketers rejoicing from the commentary box, comparing it to Headingley '81 and Botham's Ashes, and wondering if it is indeed the greatest Test innings ever.

Some, like Matt Prior, preferred schadenfreude as their choice of poison.

Prior, of course, previously stepped up his war of words with Lyon from not long ago, after the Australian offspinner had promised to "end some more careers" during the 2017-18 Ashes just like Prior's had in 2013-14. Prior's response from that time now reads like a prophecy.

Of course, fellow Australians including Shane Warne leapt to Lyon's defence now, to ensure he wouldn't be unfairly targeted in the aftermath of - momentarily at least - 'dropping the urn' in the closing stages of the game by missing an easy run out.

And in case you were wondering if this is a brave new world where Warne doesn't condone personal insults, we're sorry to burst your bubble.