England captain Ben Stokes insisted on Wednesday it was time “everyone moved on” from Jonny Bairstow’s controversial dismissal in the second Ashes Test at Lord’s.
Australia won the match by 43 runs to go 2-0 up in the five-match series despite Stokes’ stunning 155.
But his on-field heroics were overshadowed by the extraordinary fall-out from Bairstow’s unusual exit.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese have even traded verbal bouncers over the issue, which started when Bairstow was given out stumped by opposing wicketkeeper Alex Carey during what the England batter thought was a break in play.
Bairstow’s dismissal sparked a chorus of boos at a normally sedate Lord’s and led to three MCC members being suspended for allegedly abusing visiting players in the pavilion.
Stokes indicated he would have withdrawn the appeal had he been the fielding captain at the time, while England coach Brendon McCullum suggested the incident could galvanise his side as it looks to become just the second team in Test history to win a series from 2-0 down.
But Stokes, speaking to reporters at Headingley, where the third Test starts on Thursday, said, “I don’t think we can galvanise as a group any more than we are to be honest. There’s been obviously a lot of noise around the incident last week at Lord’s but, from me as a captain and from the England team, I think the best thing that everyone needs to do is just move on from it.”
Reaction to the incident in England and Australia has tended to split on patriotic lines, but former England captain Mike Atherton said rather than world Test champion Australia abusing the ‘Spirit of Cricket’, Bairstow had been guilty of “dozy cricket”.
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