Ashes finds its flashpoint as Bairstow stumping ignites England

MCC to investigate comments by members as Australia's players walked through Long Room

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
Alex Carey runs out Jonny Bairstow when he walked out of his crease, England vs Australia, 2nd Ashes Test, Lord's, 5th day, July 2, 2023

Alex Carey stumps Jonny Bairstow when he walks out of his crease  •  AFP/Getty Images

England were left fuming by Australia's decision not to withdraw their appeal for the stumping of Jonny Bairstow before lunch on the fifth day of the Ashes Test at Lord's.
With England five down, needing a further 178 runs to win, Bairstow ducked underneath a short ball from Cameron Green, scratched the crease with his boot and walked down the pitch towards his partner Ben Stokes at the non-striker's end.
Before Bairstow had begun to leave his ground, wicketkeeper Alex Carey had gathered the ball on the bounce and, in one motion, under-armed a throw at stumps at the striker's end. The standing umpires, Ahsan Raza and Chris Gaffaney, referred the decision to TV umpire Marais Erasmus as replays showed Bairstow was some way out of his crease.
Bairstow glared at the Australian huddle as he walked off and boos rang out around Lord's. The crowd - who have been largely subdued throughout the first four days of this Test - then chanted repeatedly: "Same old Aussies, always cheating."
Per the Laws of the game, the ball was not dead. According to Law 20.1.2: "The ball shall be considered to be dead when it is clear to the bowler's end umpire that the fielding side and both batters at the wicket have ceased to regard it as in play." Clearly, Australia still regarded that the ball was in play.
"Carey doesn't wait for Bairstow to walk out," Mark Taylor, the former Australian captain, said on Sky Sports. "He's going to do that regardless. It doesn't look good and people aren't going to be happy about it, but it's the right decision." Mike Atherton, the former England captain, described the dismissal as "dozy cricket from Bairstow, and costly cricket".
Eoin Morgan was even more emphatic on the lunch time show. "I've been here since I was a 13-year-old and I'm looking at playing my whole career here, and I've never seen scenes like that, particularly in the long room nevermind all the way around the ground," he said.
"There was a huge sense of frustration but I can't understand why. it's complete naivety around what has happened with Jonny Bairstow's dismissal. [It was] 100% out. I was on comms with Mark Taylor and he called it exactly right. In the balls leading up to his dismissal, this is just complete naivety.
"The ball is not dead at any stage and Jonny Bairstow leaves his crease. He's obviously in his own little bubble, they are bowling short, bowling full, accurate bowling. Testing his defence. But you cannot do this, and it's actually really smart from Alex Carey recognising what is going on. Bairstow's in his own little world, and it's an opportunity to take a wicket"
Nevertheless, England's players - most evidently Stuart Broad, who was the next man in - were visibly incensed. Broad engaged in several heated discussions with Australia's fielders before lunch. He was heard on the stump microphone telling Carey: "That's all you're ever going to be remembered for, that."
Stokes too switched gears, although that might have been because he was suddenly batting with the tail. He was 62 off 126 balls when Bairstow had to walk back, but soon charged to a hundred off 142 balls, belting the wicket-taker Green for three back-to-back sixes as Lord's went wild.
The needle continued even when play stopped for lunch. Broad clapped sarcastically towards Cummins and exchanged words with both Marnus Labuschagne and David Warner. Usman Khawaja was also pictured speaking to an MCC member in the Long Room as he walked back towards the dressing rooms.
Khawaja described the abuse as "pretty disrespectful", with Cricket Australia making an official complaint to MCC - after which the administrators of Lord's issued an "unreserved apology" to the Australia team.
There are several recent precedents for similar run-outs which have not resulted in appeals being withdrawn, including Ollie Pope's to dismiss Colin de Grandhomme at Lord's in June 2022 and more recently Muhammad Wasim's dismissal at the World Cup Qualifier by Andy Balbirnie.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98