Sir Geoffrey Boycott urges Australia to ‘apply some common sense’ and apologise

Sir Geoffrey Boycott urges Australia to ‘apply some common sense’ and apologise

Former England captain Sir Geoffrey Boycott has called on Australia to issue “a full public apology” for the controversial stumping of Jonny Bairstow at Lord’s.

Bairstow was dismissed in bizarre circumstances as the tourists won the second Test during a tense final day, with Australia wicketkeeper Alex Carey throwing down the stumps after the batter ducked the final ball of the over and set off to talk to partner Ben Stokes.

The wicket was upheld by TV umpire Marais Erasmus, who judged that the ball was not dead, but Bairstow clearly felt the over had been completed once he made his mark behind the crease-line.

The incident drew a furious reaction from the fans in attendance, who booed and jeered for the remainder of the day, while there were even angry exchanges as Australia passed through the Long Room.

Jonny Bairstow
Jonny Bairstow was perplexed by his dismissal at Lord’s (Mike Egerton/PA)

England skipper Stokes suggested he would have reversed the appeal and one of his best known predecessors, Boycott, backed him up in typically forthright fashion.

“Australia need to have a think about what they did and make a full public apology,” he wrote in the Daily Telegraph.

“That way it will redress the situation and everyone can move on. These teams have played brilliant cricket in great spirit and it is a shame when something like that happens to spoil it all.

“Australia have now had time to think about what happened. We all make mistakes in the heat of the moment. People will think better of the Australians if they put their hands up and say “we got it wrong”. That is the way to go. Let’s see over the next few days if they are man enough to do that.

“If you want to win at all costs then cricket should not be for you. We want people to play hard and fair but surely there are standards to uphold? When batsmen are not trying to take an advantage then you should not follow the letter of the law. Apply some common sense.”

Justin Langer, the former head coach who took charge of Australia’s last two Ashes campaigns, lined up on the opposite side of the debate.

He praised Carey for being alert to the opportunity and suggested Bairstow was guilty of leaving himself vulnerable.

“Alex Carey has been criticised, unfairly in my opinion. His wicketkeeping has been supreme and he is also a man of impeccable character,” Langer told the Telegraph.

“Bairstow’s dreaming should not come back on Carey. Not for a moment. Quick thinking under pressure was the antithesis to Bairstow’s lack of awareness. In my opinion, there is no way Australia were looking to breach the spirit of the game. They have learned from past experience that there are no winners in this.

“In this case perhaps the spirit of the game has been breached by the same people who are throwing stones and reacting without any recourse.”

Not everyone’s opinion on the subject tallied directly with their nationality, with former Australia international Brad Hogg unimpressed by the incident.

The 52-year-old, who played seven Tests and 138 limited-overs internationals for Australia, told talkSPORT: “I was disappointed from the start, I thought they should have called Bairstow back.

“He wasn’t taking any advantage. At the end of the day it’s not a good spectacle for Test cricket.

“England, for me, were hard done by. You don’t want to win a Test match by taking cheap wickets like that. It’s not the same as a stumping, not the same as running someone out batting out of their crease. He was in his crease (when facing).

“He did the same act a number of times at the end of the over beforehand, Australia should have warned him if they were going to do this.”