by Kobe Jacobs, ACS Literary Scholar
On Day 5 of the Lord’s Test, the Australians somehow managed to turn the home of cricket into one of the most hostile environments we have seen in the history of cricket.
It was at no fault of their own. Alex Carey only did what many wicketkeepers in cricket do in having a shot at the stumps. And because of that, sadly this Test match will most likely be infamously remembered for the stumping of Jonny Bairstow.
Due to Bairstow’s brain fade, many are going to forget about the fabulous cricket that was put on display throughout the five days. Fans were able to witness another masterful Lord’s hundred from Steve Smith, whose innings was compiled with great poise and flair. Ben Stokes’ gutsy second innings knock of 155 will hopefully be cherished by English cricket fans. However, this may not be the case.
The sheer outrage displayed by the home fans after Bairstow’s dismissal was distasteful, especially from the MCC. These are individuals who have privileged access to be so up close with some of the world’s best cricketers. Yet some from the MCC Long Room abused such an entitlement by finding the need to slander the Australians as they walked back into their changing rooms. To put it lightly, it was a horrible look.
The close result at Edgbaston added even more to the Ashes rivalry which goes back to 1882. Though now, I think the rivalry extends further than just the two cricket teams. The post-match backlash between the two countries and their fans through the media has only made the Ashes rivalry more fierce and competitive.
As it looked as though Stokes was going to will his country over the line, the energy that the English crowd provided post the Bairstow dismissal was deafening. So it’s a credit to the Australians for holding their nerve and not letting the sour taste of Headingley 2019, when Ben Stokes went all the way, come back to haunt them.
Until the next Test, all there is to do is debate on what transpired on the final day.
And it must be said that this sport can be complex to comprehend when weighing up the rules of the game with the spirit of the game. But in the case of Bairstow, he should know that strolling out of the crease as he did so carelessly warrants an action as to what Carey produced. It’s a dismissal that doesn’t look the greatest, however, the ruthlessness from the Australians is more than understandable.
This is the Ashes, both teams should do anything within the rules of the game that ultimately helps them gain a competitive advantage. As Pat Cummins sat down to do his post-match press conference, it was only fitting that he had a bit of bruising under his right eye. It’s almost as though his black eye symbolises what the two teams have done to one another, going blow for blow. Although Australia is currently 2-0 up, you just get the feeling that the home side isn’t ready to surrender just yet.
Australian Cricket Society’s literary scholar Kobe Jacobs is mentored by writer John Harms. His pieces are also published at www.footyalmanac.com.au .