Controversy as Australia go 2-0 up

2015-09-05 21:19
Ben Stokes (AP)

London - England all-rounder Ben Stokes's controversial dismissal in being given out obstructing the field promised to be the lasting memory of Australia's 64-run win in the second one-day international at Lord's on Saturday.

Victory put the World Cup holders 2-0 up in the five-match series as, for the second fixture in a row, England failed to chase down a target of more than 300 despite skipper Eoin Morgan's defiant 85.

Australia captain Steven Smith paved the way for his side's last 10-over push to a total of 309 for seven

Smith top-scored with 70, before falling to Adil Rashid's leg-spin, as Australia, fresh from their 59-run win in Southampton on Thursday, were sent in by Morgan in awkward overcast conditions for batting.

Together with George Bailey (54), he put on 99 for the second-wicket in a match reduced by rain to 49 overs per side.

Australia's battery of big-hitting all-rounders then came to the fore as 96 runs were scored in the last 10 overs.

Man-of-the-match Mitchell Marsh, out off the last delivery of the innings for a 31-ball 64, struck seven fours and three sixes off his own bat.

But the flashpoint moment came in the 25th over of England's reply.

All-rounder Stokes struck a straight drive which was stopped by bowler Mitchell Starc.

Left-arm paceman Starc then hurled the ball back hard towards Stokes's end who, leaning back and turning his head away, stopped it with a hand taken off the bat. Australia appealed.

On-field umpires Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka and former England batsman Tim Robinson referred the issue to third umpire Joel Wilson.

The relevant cricket Law or rule talks about "wilful obstruction" and does allow batsmen to protect themselves from injury.

After lengthy deliberation, West Indian official Wilson, having watched slow-motion replays but not one at full speed, gave Stokes out for 10, sparking a chorus of boos.

"You don't have time to think," said Morgan, who was batting with Stokes at the time.

"It was a natural reaction to avoid the ball. Mitchell Starc was about five yards away from Ben Stokes."

But Smith countered: "I probably don't know the laws right to the tee but if you wilfully put your arm out you're given out and that's the way it went.

"I don't want to shy away from the fact it was a great game of cricket as well. I thought we showed great character to dig ourselves out of a situation and win this match."

Stokes's exit was the cue for a collapse that saw four wickets lost for 46 runs, with fast bowler Pat Cummins taking final figures of four for 56.

Morgan and the recalled Liam Plunkett (24) shared a ninth-wicket stand of 55 in 22 balls but it was too late to change the course of the match, with left-hander Morgan, on his Middlesex home ground, last man out when he holed out off Cummins.

Left-hander Morgan faced 87 balls including four fours and four sixes.

Australia had an early setback when David Warner, who struggled against the short ball during England's 3-2 Ashes series win, suffered what turned out to a tour-ending fractured left thumb injury as he got in a tangle trying to play fast bowler Steven Finn's second-ball bouncer and retired hurt.

Glenn Maxwell (49) got the late run spree going with two sixes and a four off successive balls in an Ali over that cost 19 runs in total.

Shane Watson (39) weighed in with two huge sixes, off consecutive Ali deliveries, the first soaring straight into the top deck of the Lord's Pavilion.

Marsh struck a low full-toss from Chris Woakes for six and was eventually caught behind attempting another big hit, off Stokes.

Smith held a brilliant catch at short cover to dismiss Alex Hales Jason Roy was caught behind as England lost both their openers inside the first 12 overs.

James Taylor dropped on one and nine, failed to cash in and was out for 43.

The series continues in Manchester on Tuesday.

Read more on:    england  |  australia  |  ben stokes  |  cricket

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