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Bazbawl: Bairstow barks back in fiery exchange with Ashwin, Stokes commits schoolboy error as India sink England

5th February, 2024
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5th February, 2024
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Jonny Bairstow’s gentlemanly spirit of cricket was nowhere to be found and Ben Stokes committed a schoolboy error as England were soundly beaten by 106 runs in the Second Test at Visakhapatnam.

Bairstow was involved in a fiery exchange with Ravichandran Ashwin after the English veteran was given out LBW at a crucial stage of the run-chase as the tourists went down swinging to be bowled out for 292 in pursuit of the improbably victory target of 399.

After he was trapped in front, Bairstow reacted to Ashwin celebrating close by, appearing to mouth “fuck off” to the feisty spinner.

He reviewed the decision but was sent on his way for 26 when the replay ruled the ball was hitting leg stump on an umpire’s call.

Bairstow, who complained bitterly after being legitimately stumped last year during the Ashes, could face a sanction from the match referee for his outburst.

His dismissal came on the stroke of lunch on day four to reduce England to 6-194.

Stokes fell early in the second session when he cantered down the pitch for what should have been an easy single but was then caught short of his ground by a direct hit from Shreyas Iyer.

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He seemed to jog through before speeding up at the end when it was too late as the throw came in.

The skipper’s unneccessary departure for 11 left his side at 7-220 and virtually no hope of victory.

Bumrah mopped up the tail for India to level the series at 1-1.

VISAKHAPATNAM, INDIA - FEBRUARY 05: England batsman Jonny Bairstow leaves the field after being given out after review during day four of the 2nd Test Match between India and England at ACA-VDCA Stadium on February 05, 2024 in Visakhapatnam, India. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

England batter Jonny Bairstow leaves the field after being given out in Visakhapatnam. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Earlier, left-arm spinner Axar Patel removed Rehan Ahmed, who did a decent job as England’s nightwatchman by scoring a brisk 23.

Ashwin then rattled England by dismissing Ollie Pope and Joe Root in successive overs.

Pope made 23 before edging the off-spinner and the ball stuck to Rohit Sharma’s outstretched left hand at slip.

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Root, nursing a finger injury, smashed Patel for a six but gifted his wicket when he danced down the track to hit Ashwin and ended up offering a top-edge to Patel at backward point.

Opener Zak Crawley had looked the man most likely to do something special and his dismissal for 73 just before lunch turned the game decisively in India’s favour. 

Kuldeep Yadav’s lbw shout was initially turned down by experienced umpire Marais Erasmus, who judged the ball to missing leg stump, but DRS ruled in the bowler’s favour when ball-tracking suggested it was going on to hit. 

England lost Bairstow in the next over and never quite recovered.

“My personal opinion is that the technology has gone wrong on this occasion. That’s where I stand on it,” Stokes said.

“Technology in the game is obviously there and everyone has an understanding of the reasons it can never be 100 per cent. That’s why we have the ‘umpire’s call’.

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“So when it’s not 100 per cent, I don’t think it’s unfair for someone to say ‘I think the technology has got it wrong’. 

“I will say that, but in a game full of ifs, buts and maybes I am not going to say that’s the reason why we haven’t got the result we wanted.”

England’s score was the second-highest fourth-innings total any overseas team have scored in Indian conditions, but the scale of their target was simply too great to overcome without a big century to build around. 

Ollie Pope, Ben Foakes and Tom Hartley were all battling against illness that emerged in the camp overnight, along with the injured Jack Leach at the team hotel, leaving Stokes proud of the fight his side put up. 

“There’s a bit of a virus going round, a couple of guys woke up not feeling great,” he said. 

“It’s not ideal, you want everyone to be feeling great but I’m proud that the guys who were feeling under the weather didn’t shy away and gave it their best.”

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England’s aggressive display in defeat and even dismissals like Joe Root’s for 16, an agricultural heave from the side’s most elegant player, do not give Stokes pause for thought. 

“I think our approach is what we’re known for, the way in which we play,” he said. 

“We want to stay very true to ourselves. I was happy with the way we went about that chase. That’s exactly how we play cricket. It won’t always work but a loss is a loss; you don’t get any points losing by five and you don’t get less for losing by 100.”

The third Test in Rajkot begins on February 15.

with AAP

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