Australia won a rancourous second Ashes Test at Lord’s on Sunday by 43 runs despite a stunning century from England captain Ben Stokes that was super-charged by the controversial dismissal of Jonny Bairstow.
Stokes made a remarkable 155 before he was dismissed with England 70 runs shy of a steep target of 371.
England were eventually dismissed for 327 as holders Australia, bidding for a first away Ashes series win in 22 years, went 2-0 up in the five-match campaign.
But it was the dismissal of Bairstow shortly before lunch on the last day that lit the blue-touch paper on this match and incited the fury of the usually sedate Lord’s crowd.
Bairstow, the last of England’s specialist batsmen, fell in bizarre fashion for 10 when he wandered out of his ground after ducking a Cameron Green bouncer and quick-thinking wicketkeeper Alex Carey under-armed the ball onto the stumps.
Bairstow thought he had secured his ground by tapping his bat behind the crease.
Australia captain Pat Cummins could have withdrawn the appeal but the decision was referred to third umpire Marais Erasmus, who ruled Bairstow had been stumped, with England now 193-6.
Spectators at the ‘Home of Cricket’ reacted in fury with a chant of “Same old Aussies, always cheating” in a reference to a a 2018 ball-tampering scandal in South Africa that led to year-long bans for Australia stars Steve Smith and David Warner.
Incoming batsman Stuart Broad told Carey “you’ll be forever remembered for that”.
But a spokesperson for Marylebone Cricket Club the owners of Lord’s and the guardians of cricket’ Laws, later told AFP Bairstow had been given out correctly.
An Australia team spokesman later alleged players had been “verbally abused” and “physically contacted” by irate MCC members in the Lord’s Pavilion during the lunch break.
An angry Stokes, then on 62, hit out and on 77 he slammed a fierce pull back at Cummins which the fast bowler dropped.
Stokes then hooked Green for three sixes off successive deliveries – the second dropped over the boundary by Mitchell Starc – to compete a stunning 142-ball hundred.
At lunch, England were 243-6, with Stokes a remarkable 128 not out.
Jeers turn to cheers
Australia were booed again as they took the field after the interval.
But the jeers turned to cheers when, off just the second ball of the session, Stokes lofted Josh Hazlewood for a brilliant straight six.
Two balls later, however, he was dropped at deep backward square when Smith grassed a routine chance before he was again missed on 114 by a diving Carey
Left-handed batsman Stokes struck two more sixes off Hazlewood, the second a remarkable one-handed hit.
Australia were without Nathan Lyon after the off-spinner, who had limped out to bat at No 11 on Saturday, was off the field with the severe calf tear he had suffered while fielding Thursday.
Stokes, however, was unable to repeat his heroics of 2019 when the all-rounder’s astounding unbeaten century secured a thrilling one-wicket win in an Ashes Test at Headingley, with England reaching a total of 359 – their highest fourth-innings winning chase against Australia.
He fell when he skyed Hazlewood to Carey to end a 214-ball innings including nine fours and nine sixes. Stokes walked off to a standing ovation but at 301-7 the game was all but up for England.
Ollie Robinson and Broad, who had helped Stokes add 108, fell in quick succession to leave England on the brink of defeat.
Last man James Anderson was then hit on the helmet by a Starc bouncer before the express quick bowled Josh Tongue to end the match, with the third Test at Headingley starting Thursday.
Cummins, Starc and Hazlewood all took three wickets apiece to leave England with a mountain to climb if they are to regain the Ashes.
Only once in Test history have a team come from 2-0 down to win a series when the Australia side of 1936/37, inspired by batting great Don Bradman, recovered to win an Ashes 3-2.
Earlier, Ben Duckett fell short of a coveted century at Lord’s for the second time this Test, his 83 following a first-innings 98. His second-innings stand of 132 with Stokes kept England in the game after they had been in dire straits at 45-4.