England captain Ben Stokes says he would not want to win with such a contentious dismissal as Jonny Bairstow’s in the second Ashes Test.
The controversial stumping threatened to overshadow Australia’s 43-run win against the hosts at Lord’s.
Believing the ball to be dead, Bairstow wandered out of his ground as wicketkeeper Alex Carey threw down the stumps and was given out.
Stokes said he would have withdrawn the appeal in that situation.
“Jonny was in his crease, then out of his crease to come down and have the chat,” Stokes, who hit an incredible 155 as England threatened an unlikely victory, told Test Match Special.
“I am not disputing the fact it is out because it is out.
“Would I want to win a game in that manner? The answer for me is no.”
The dismissal, which left England needing 178 runs with four wickets left, created a hostile atmosphere at Lord’s – with the Australia team, in particular captain Pat Cummins, booed relentlessly by the crowd.
As the players left for lunch, Usman Khawaja and David Warner were confronted by Lord’s members in the Long Room, for which the Marylebone Cricket Club later apologised. Three members were subsequently suspended.
Cummins said he thought the Bairstow incident was “fair play”.
“That is the rules,” he said. “That is how I saw it.”
The Australia captain said Carey had seen Bairstow leave his crease after previous deliveries during the over.
But England coach Brendon McCullum said Bairstow believed the umpires had “effectively called over”, which would mean the ball was dead.
Cricket’s laws say the ball is dead “when it is clear to the bowler’s end umpire that the fielding side and both batters at the wicket have ceased to regard it as in play”.
Stokes said: “When is it justified that the umpires have called over? Is the on-field umpires making movement… is that enough to call over? I’m not sure.
“If the shoe was on the other foot, I would have put more pressure on the umpires and asked whether they had called over and had a deep think about the whole spirit of the game and if I would want to do something like that.”
‘Can’t imagine we will have a beer any time soon’
There were heated exchanges between the players following Bairstow’s dismissal. A clearly wound-up Stuart Broad told Carey: “That’s all you will be remembered for.”
Broad, who put on 108 with Stokes for the seventh-wicket in England’s pursuit of 371, was later heard saying it was the “worst thing he had seen on a cricket field”.
Asked if the incident will impact the relations between the teams, McCullum said: “I can’t imagine we’ll be having a beer with them any time soon.
“We have three Tests to land some blows and try to win the Ashes. That is where our focus will be.”
But Cummins said there was no bad blood.
“Not from our team, you might have to ask them,” he said. “It was a wonderful contest. It’s been a great Ashes series so far.”
Stokes still believes England can win Ashes
Bairstow’s dismissal sparked a change in approach from Stokes, who clubbed nine sixes in a stunning assault.
It was an innings that threatened to rival his epic knock at Headingley in 2019, but he was caught off Josh Hazlewood with England still 70 runs adrift of their target.
“I did look back at Headingley but unfortunately it wasn’t enough,” Stokes said.
The third Test begins on Thursday at Headingley and England must now win all three remaining matches to win the Ashes. They have never come from 2-0 down to win an Ashes series.
However, Stokes said: “We beat Pakistan and New Zealand 3-0 [in 2022], so that is how we have to look at it.”