Mon, Sep 07, 2015 - Page 19 News List

Stokes row overshadows Australia’s second ODI win

AFP, LONDON

England’s Ben Stokes dives back into his crease as he is hit by a ball before being given out for obstructing the field during their one-day international match against Australia at Lord’s in London on Saturday.

Photo: AP

England all-rounder Ben Stokes’ controversial dismissal in being given out obstructing the field promised to be the lasting memory of Australia’s 64-run win in the second one-day international (ODI) at Lord’s in London on Saturday.

Victory put the Cricket World Cup holders 2-0 up in a five-match series as, for the second fixture in a row, England failed to chase down a target of more than 300, despite skipper Eoin Morgan’s defiant 85.

Australia captain Steven Smith led the way as his side managed a total of 309 for seven

Smith top-scored with 70, before falling to Adil Rashid’s leg-spin, as Australia, fresh from their 59-run win in Southampton, England, on Thursday last week, were sent in by Morgan in awkward overcast conditions for batting.

Together with George Bailey (54), Smith put on 99 for the second-wicket in a match reduced by rain to 49 overs per side.

Australia’s battery of big-hitting all-rounders then came to the fore as 96 runs were scored in the last 10 overs.

Man-of-the-match Mitchell Marsh, out off the last delivery of the innings for a 31-ball 64, struck seven fours and three sixes off his own bat.

However, the flashpoint moment came in the 25th over of England’s reply.

All-rounder Stokes struck a straight drive, which was stopped by bowler Mitchell Starc. Left-arm paceman Starc then hurled the ball back hard toward Stokes’ end who, leaning back and turning his head away, stopped it with a hand taken off the bat. Australia appealed.

On-field umpires Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka and former England batsman Tim Robinson referred the issue to third umpire Joel Wilson. The relevant cricket rule talks of “wilful obstruction” and does allow batsmen to protect themselves from injury. After lengthy deliberation, West Indian official Wilson, having watched slow-motion replays, but not one at full speed, gave Stokes out for 10, sparking a chorus of boos.

“You do not have time to think,” said Morgan, who was batting with Stokes at the time. “It was a natural reaction to avoid the ball. Mitchell Starc was about five yards away from Ben Stokes.”

However, Smith said: “I probably do not know the laws right to the tee, but if you wilfully put your arm out, you are given out and that is the way it went. I don’t want to shy away from the fact it was a great game of cricket as well. I thought we showed great character to dig ourselves out of a situation and win this match.”

Stokes’ exit was the cue for a collapse that saw four wickets lost for 46 runs, with fast bowler Pat Cummins taking final figures of four for 56.

Morgan and the recalled Liam Plunkett (24) shared a ninth-wicket stand of 55 in 22 balls, but it was too late to change the course of the match, with left-hander Morgan, on his Middlesex home ground, last man out when he holed out off Cummins.

Left-hander Morgan faced 87 balls, including four fours and four sixes.

Australia had an early setback when David Warner, who struggled against the short ball during England’s 3-2 Ashes Test series win, suffered what turned out to be a tour-ending fractured left thumb injury as he got in a tangle trying to play fast bowler Steven Finn’s second-ball bouncer and retired hurt.

Glenn Maxwell (49) got the late run spree going with two sixes and a four off successive balls in an Ali over that cost 19 runs in total.

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