Why is everyone, including actual prime ministers, talking about how Australia beat England in the second test of the cricket? Here’s what you need to know about the Ashes controversy.
The Australian men’s cricket team just beat England in the second Test match of the Ashes. But the focus here is on how they won. Specifically, we’re talking about the way Australia got out English batter Jonny Bairstow.
While he was batting, he missed the ball and it went to the Australian keeper Alex Carey. No dramas here. But then Bairstow starts to wander out of his crease (that’s the place where batters have to stand). Batters are allowed to do that once the ball is complete, but they have to wait for the umpire’s signal.
Alex Carey (the Aussie keeper) noticed this, and he threw the ball back and hit the stumps just after Bairstow had walked off. Now, at this point, we should emphasise this is perfectly within the rules of the game. But in cricket, it’s never just about the rules.
Cricket people love to talk about the spirit of the game, and traditionalists think that sneaky ways of getting people out are unsportsmanlike. This game is at Lord’s Cricket Ground, which is pretty much the home of traditionalists, and they hate it.
In fact, as the Australian players walked off, they got abused by spectators boo-ing and chating ‘Same old Aussies, always cheating.’
After the game, the English team were fuming, with English Test Captain Ben Stokes addressing the press, “I would have had to have a real think around the spirit of the game. Would I want to potentially win a game with something like that happening? It would be no.”
But the Australians believe they have nothing to apologise for.
Australian Test Captain, Pat Cummins replied with “I think it’s fair. Jonny (Bairstow) does it all the time”.
When asked by a reporter “You guys have worked really hard over the last five years to kind of turn around your image to the rest of the world, are you worried at all the fact you didn’t ask to withdraw that appeal [it] might harm Australian cricket?”
Pat Cummins: “I don’t believe so, no.”
The Ashes controversy has divided the cricket world is divided, with commentators from Sky UK arguing,“That whole nebulous spirit of the cricket feel- you could argue that both ways. I was pretty comfortable with what Australia did.” And, from TalkTV, “This was completely outrageous, completely unethical.”
Then, the two prime ministers got involved. A spokesperson for UK PM Rishi Sunak said the Prime Minister agrees with Ben Stokes. He simply wouldn’t want to win a game in the manner Australia did. Anthony Albanese’s Twitter response, “Same old Aussies, always winning.”