ANI Photo | Australian skipper Cummins reveals role in Bairstow’s controversial stumping during 2023 Ashes

Australian skipper Pat Cummins opened up about his role in England batter Jonny Bairstow’s controversial stumping during the second Ashes Test last year, which proved to be a turning point in the series, igniting England’s motivation to bounce back from a scoreline of 0-2 to draw the series 2-2.
During the second Test of the Ashes series back in July last year, Bairstow was stumped by wicketkeeper Alex Carey for just 10 runs in a run-chase of 371 runs. The stumping was done when Bairstow had stepped outside his crease, assuming that the ball was dead after he ducked it. Just when he stepped out, Carey wasted no time in running him out. The dismissal proved to be a big one for Australia as England skittled out for 327 runs in the run-chase and went down in the series by 2-0.
The runout, carried out on the fourth day of the game, proved to be one of the biggest controversies in the recent history of the Ashes series. The Australian team was abused by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) members in the Long Room of the Lord’s Stadium when they came back for lunch, and debates on ‘Spirit of Cricket’ were done endlessly, with many fans and experts opining that Bairstow either should have been warned or the dismissal should not have been carried out. The dismissal, though, was legal as per the laws of cricket.
Speaking in a footage of ‘The Test’ documentary releasing on May 24 this month, as quoted by ESPNCricinfo, Cummins said, “Cam Green was bowling and bowled a bouncer and he [Bairstow] ducked underneath it and then just walked out of his crease. So I just said to Kez [Carey] the ball before, I said, ‘Kez, just have a throw’.”
Carey was on point with his stumping as Bairstow was given out by the TV umpire. Speaking about walking back into the Long Room, Cummins recalled, “Walking back into the Long Room, it was like we had ripped the soul out of them … absolutely, yeah, people stepped over the line,” Cummins recalls in one of the interviews of the documentary.
Australian batter Usman Khawaja also said, “One of the members … was spraying me (abusing him). I was like, ‘nup, you cannot be saying that stuff’. He said, ‘Oh, I can say whatever I want’, like a sense of entitlement almost.”
Batter Marnus Labuschagne also added, “One of them was foaming at the mouth. A bloke hit Bull [nickname for David Warner] when he went up the stairs.”
Reflecting on the moment in the dressing room, Carey quipped, “Someone told me to throw it…not sure who it was.”
Mitchell Marsh, the Australian all-rounder, recalled the scene at the dining room, “I was sitting there like a school kid who should not be laughing…eating my soup, then I look up at Jonny and Jonny is staring over at us and I am like [mimics trying not to spit out his soup].”
Cummins was adamant that the dismissal was right, saying, “Just clear-cut, it was out.”
This run out charged up England, who had given a great fight against Australia till that point. They won the third and fifth Tests comprehensively, drawing the series 2-2. The Three Lions could have also won the fourth Test at Manchester had it not been interrupted by rain. Australia retained the prestigious Ashes urn by drawing the series but could not win the series in England for the first time since 2001.
Following the stumping, Carey copped a lot of abuse on social media and from the crowd during the matches as well. This abuse reached such an extent that Australia’s cybersecurity police had to get involved.
In the documentary, Carey and his wife, Eloise, discussed the incident. “That is probably the thing that shocked me the most, the abuse, people going after you…personal, family, all that sort of stuff.”
Carey’s form, however, slid down after the Lord’s Test and he could not make it to the ODI side for the Cricket World Cup taking place in India later that year. He silenced talks around his selection with an unbeaten, match-winning 98 against New Zealand at Christchurch in March this year.
Star batter Steve Smith admitted that he was worried about Carey’s well-being during all this time.
“I could sense he was not quite right mentally and I can understand it. I was worried about him and his well-being,” Smith said.
“Everyone projected on Kez and did not project on anyone else. It was all on Kez. Looking back on it, I just feel so bad for him what he went through at the time and what his family would have gone through being there at the time. It would have been so hard,” added Khawaja. (ANI)

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