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Controversial decision ignites Ashes Test as Australia takes commanding lead

Australia took a commanding 2-0 lead in this year’s Ashes Series after winning an ill-tempered Test match against England on Sunday.

England had a mountain to climb at the start of the day, chasing down the remainder of the 371 runs set by its opponent, and the job was made even more difficult after the controversial dismissal of batsman Jonny Bairstow.

Bairstow had walked down the wicket thinking the over was finished, but Australian wicketkeeper Alex Carey threw the ball at the stumps and the England batsman had to be given out.

The dismissal was in keeping with the laws of the game but there are debates over whether Carey’s actions were in line with the spirit of cricket.

Speaking on BBC’s Test Match Special, England captain Ben Stokes said that he would have withdrawn the appeal if he was in the position of Australian captain Pat Cummins.

“Would I want to win a game in that manner? The answer for me is no,” he said.

Known for its serene atmosphere, Lord’s Cricket Ground has previously been a safe space for Australian teams of years gone by, but following Bairstow’s dismissal, Australia awoke a beast that nobody knew was hiding.

The majority of England fans inside the ground were left furious by the decision and started vociferously chanting at and booing the Australian players.

There were also choice words between England’s Stuart Broad and Carey, with the batsman heard telling the wicketkeeper: “That’s all you’ll ever be remembered for.”

The drama then continued off the field as members of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), who owns Lord’s, were seen confronting Australian players outside the changing rooms just before lunch.

“It is alleged players and staff from the Australian team were verbally abused, with some being physically contacted, as they made their way to lunch through the members area,” Cricket Australia said in a statement.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Australia’s captain Cummins said: “The MCC came and apologised for the behavior of some of the members. I think some of them might lose their membership over the way they behaved.”

In a statement later on Sunday, the MCC said: “We have unreservedly apologised to the Australian Team and will deal with any Member who has not maintained the standard we expect through our disciplinary processes.

“It was not necessary to eject anyone from the ground, and we are pleased to say that there was no repeat of this as the players resumed the field for this afternoon’s session.”

Ben Stokes masterclass

England’s captain Stokes was batting alongside Bairstow when the controversial wicket fell and it seemed to ignite something inside the 32-year-old.

Providing flashbacks to his famous innings in the 2019 Ashes at Headingley, Stokes took it to the Australian attack, channeling his inner anger at the earlier wicket.

He managed to stay calm as tensions were rising around him and delivered a masterful innings of incredible ball striking – hitting 155 before being caught by Carey.

Once the wicket of Stokes fell, Australia sauntered to a win – beating England by 43 runs – but discussions surrounding the controversial run out will continue for the foreseeable future.

The third Ashes Test will be held in Headingley, Leeds, on July 6.

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