Jonny Bairstow is dismissed in controversial circumstances as Australia go 2-0 up in Ashes despite Ben Stokes’ brilliant century.
Australia are within touching distance of their first Ashes series win in England in 22 years after denying Ben Stokes a Lord’s miracle and claiming a 43-run victory.
On a drama-charged final day at the home of cricket on Sunday, Australian players were abused by fans and endured constant booing after a controversial stumping of Jonny Bairstow before lunch.
Jeers continued until Australia bowled England out for 327 just before tea, giving the visitors a 2-0 lead and needing to win only one of the three tests to take the series.
But this match will long be remembered for a dismissal that has the potential to ignite the rest of the tour.
With England 193-5 in pursuit of 371 for victory, Bairstow (10) walked out of his crease almost immediately after ducking the last ball of a Cameron Green over.
Alex Carey threw the ball back at the stumps and dismissed the star England batter, prompting immediate fury from both the Lord’s crowd and home team.
Cricket Australia have since claimed players were abused and copped physical contact by Lord’s members during the lunch break, after having to walk through the public in the famed long room.
Asked whether there was now any bad blood between the two teams, Australian captain Pat Cummins said: “Not from our team, you might have to ask them. It was a wonderful contest. It’s been a great Ashes series so far.”
Defending the Bairstow dismissal, he added: “No regrets. I think it’s a rare dismissal. There was nothing untoward or sneaky.
“Jonny was leaving his crease every ball. He did it four or five balls. You’re meant to stay in your crease in cricket. Bairstow has tried it with a lot of our guys.
“There was no pause, catch it, straight away have a throw at the stumps. I thought it was totally fair play; that’s how the rule is.”
But Stokes suggested: “If the shoe was on the other foot, I would have had a think about the whole spirit of the game. But it has happened. It was out. We have to move on.”
But the drama clearly only acted to fire up the England captain out in the middle, as he threatened to pull off a repeat of his Headingley heroics from 2019.
Stokes produced a blazing 155, hit an Ashes record nine sixes and dominated a 108-run seventh-wicket stand with Stuart Broad to give the hosts a hope.
Stokes hit 46 from the first 21 balls after the drama, and regularly held onto the strike as the runs required continued to drop in fours and sixes.
And, as at Headingley four years ago, Australia also fell victim to the chaos.
Pat Cummins dropped a very tough caught-and-bowled chance when Stokes whacked a ball back at him on 77.
Then Steve Smith and Carey both put Stokes down on 114, no doubt bringing back more reminders of Headingley 2019 and England’s one-wicket victory.
But with 70 more runs needed for victory, the pressure eventually told for Stokes.
Australia were able to slow down his scoring, and when he skied a short Josh Hazlewood ball, England’s chances were crushed and the tail fell soon afterwards.
Hazlewood ended up with three wickets in the win after also having Ben Duckett well caught by Carey on 83 earlier in the morning, while Pat Cummins took 3-69 and Mitchell Starc 3-79.
Notable too was the fact Australia were able to claim the final-day victory without injured spinner Nathan Lyon, who is likely to be replaced by Todd Murphy for the third test at Headingley on Thursday