Spirit of cricket went out the window “a long, long time ago”, says Ian Smith over Bairstow dismissal

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London, July 3

Former New Zealand wicketkeeper-batter Ian Smith believes Australia’s dismissal of Jonny Bairstow in the second Test was probably not in the spirit of cricket, but added that the spirit of cricket element has been absent from the game for a "long, long time".

On day five's play in the second Ashes Test at Lord’s, Bairstow was on 10 and England were at 193/5 in the 52nd over when he ducked under a bouncer from Cameron Green and inadvertently walked out of his crease.

On seeing that, Australia wicketkeeper Alex Carey immediately directed an underarm throw after catching the delivery, and jumped in joy after firing an accurate throw towards the stumps.

"I don’t think he looked, Jonny Bairstow, I don’t think he looked at Alex Carey at any stage there, he didn’t turn round to see if he gloved it cleanly. It was just a weird course of events and Australia took advantage of it," said Smith on SENZ Radio.

It led to chaos in the middle as Bairstow believed the ball was dead, with Australia immediately going for an appeal. On-field umpires Ahsan Raza and Chris Gaffaney sent the decision upstairs, where TV umpire Marais Erasmus confirmed Bairstow’s dismissal.

On seeing the out decision, the Australian players celebrated while the crowd began to chant "same old Aussies, always cheating", leading to the ‘spirit of cricket' being reignited all over again.

"Whether it’s in the spirit of cricket, perhaps not. But then again, what is the spirit of cricket? I mean, that the game should be played in a gentlemanly way the whole time? I think if that’s the case, that went out the window a long, long time ago," added Smith.

Smith also recalled a spirit of cricket debate which happened after Mitchell Starc’s catch of Ben Duckett at fine leg on day four’s play was disallowed. In that scenario, the laws of cricket were applied correctly in Duckett being recalled to the crease.

"He was still in the motion of trying to catch the ball, retain his balance and he used the ball sliding along the surface of the grass. For me, that is clearly, clearly not out, that’s an easy one."

"Even though he'll say 'I had control of the ball', you might have, but you used the top of the turf to control yourself with the ball in your hand at the same time. The fact of the matter is if you used the surface to steady yourself (with the ball in hand)… not out. That’s an easy one compared to the other one," added Smith.

The ongoing Ashes are currently led by Australia 2-0 after beating England by 43 runs. The third Ashes Test will begin at Headingley from Thursday.

--IANS

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