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English Reaction To Ashes Controversy Stark Contrast To 2019 Ireland Stumping

English Reaction To Ashes Controversy Stark Contrast To 2019 Ireland Stumping
By Eoin Harrington Updated
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We weren't expecting an event like the Ashes to take over the sporting news cycle in quite the exact manner it has the past day or so, but the iconic clash between England and Australia has been plunged into controversy.

After Australia won the first test of the five-test series in Birmingham, the two sides travelled to London for round two at the iconic Lord's cricket ground.

With England chasing a deficit, it seemed as though they could be en route to a famous comeback before a controversial stumping incident saw English batsman Jonny Bairstow eliminated.

Bairstow had believed the ball was dead, and stepped away from the crease, with Aussie Alex Carey taking advantage of a loophole in the rules to strike him out.


English fans have been incensed, and the Australian team were not only booed but also intimidated by members of the Lord's club on Sunday's lunch break. However, there is precedent for stumpings like this, and one incident from 2019 against Ireland saw the English media react very differently.

Ashes controversy: English fans reacted very differently to similar incident v Ireland in 2019

Needless to say, the incident at Lord's has become the most talked-about incident of the Ashes thus far. With England attempting to reclaim the trophy from their rivals on home soil, the anger at a perceived injustice on the field has only been amplified.


The reaction came to a head when Australian players were confronted in the Lord's Long Room by furious England fans - the Marylebone Cricket Club has since confirmed three of the fans in question have been suspended and will not be permitted to visit the venue until a full investigation has taken place.

And the frenzy has gone far further than merely being contained to angry English fans.

The English sporting media have also been incandescent since the incident. Reactions have ranged from calls for Australia to make a formal public apology, claims that the Aussie team have tarnished their reputation, and praise for the Lord's crowd for booing the visitors.


There is a stark contrast, however, with how a similar incident was reported in a 2019 game against Ireland - only, on that occasion, it was England who took a somewhat sneaky wicket at Ireland's expense.


England travelled to Dublin to face Ireland in a four-day test match in June 2019, with the match taking place at Malahide Castle. They finished the tour with an ODI against Ireland at the same venue.

That game saw a similar tactic employed to stump Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie, and the Irish team contended at the time that the ball had been dead before the wicket had been called.


It is, undoubtedly, a play on the edge of the spirit of the game, but it is permitted within the rules, and its use shows a level of ingenuity - even if it may come across as somewhat unsporting.


The reaction from the English media to that incident, by contrast to the reaction stumping in the Ashes, was one of praise for the quick thinking of England wicket keeper Ben Foakes.

The Guardian's live blog of the test in Malahide said of the incident:

This is sensational wicketkeeping from Foakes. Just wonderful stuff. Balbirnie missed a sweep, Foakes gathered. And just as the batsman adjusted his balance his back shin and foot lifted slightly (and briefly) from the ground. Foakes whipped off the bails. Appeal. Third umpire. Out.

Meanwhile, the Guardian's live blog of the stumping of Jonny Bairstow at Lord's read:

The Aussies are cock-a-hoop. Bairstow looks incredulous. Silently seething and puce faced he marches off. Umpire Marais Erasmus having given him out after seeing the replay. It’s daft from Bairstow and ruthless from Australia. The crowd are still booing. What to make of all this!

Meanwhile the Telegraph, whose above incensed articles suggested that Australia should formally apologise and be ashamed of their manner of victory, had this to say at the time of Balbirnie's dismissal:

Some felt it was gamesmanship, but Adair was dozy and should have been more aware of what was going on behind him.


Former cricketer Izzy Westbury also noted the difference in how Sky Sports had marketed their clips of both the 2019 dismissal of Balbirnie, and this week's of Bairstow.

The header for the 2019 clip read "Quick-thinking Foakes stumps Balbirnie," while that of 2023 read, "The most CONTROVERSIAL moment of the Ashes so far?!"

The Ashes will continue next week, with Australia 2-0 up in the series after seeing out a 43 run win in the aftermath of the stumping controversy in London.

Even with three tests still to come in Leeds, Manchester, and at the Oval in London, it feels inevitable that the incident at Lord's is set to define this series - not least because of the ever-so-slightly overblown English media reaction.

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