Australia win Lord's Test in drama-charged finish
Pat Cummins has rejected insinuations from Ben Stokes that Australia acted against the spirit of cricket to take a dramatic 43-run victory over England and with it a 2-0 lead in the Ashes.
On a fiery afternoon at Lord's, Stokes hit a blazing 155 to give England hopes of a repeat of his 2019 Headingley heroics, before the hosts were eventually all out for 327.
The victory leaves Australia one win away from their first overseas Ashes series win in 22 years, and Stokes' men needing to do what England have never done before and win from 2-0 down.
But the result was only half the story.
With England 5-193 in pursuit of 371 for victory, Jonny Bairstow (10) walked out of his crease almost immediately after ducking the last ball of a Cameron Green over. Alex Carey threw the ball back at the stumps and stumped the star England batter, prompting immediate fury from the Lord's crowd and home team.
What followed was three hours of chaos, with the usually reserved Lord's crowd labelling the Australians cheats and the tourists alleging players were abused in the long room at lunch.
Australia plan to make complaints to Marylebone Cricket Club about physical contact in the Pavilion, which is expected to include members attempting to trip players over on the stairs.
Stokes remained upset after the match, claiming if he was in Cummins' shoes the appeal would have been withdrawn.
"If I was fielding captain ... I would have had a real think about the spirit of the game," Stokes said. "And would I want to potentially win a game with something like that happening? It would be no."
Stokes' stance was rejected by Cummins, who was adamant there was nothing untoward or sneaky about the dismissal.
"I thought it was fair (play)," Cummins said.
"You see Jonny do it all the time (when keeping), he did it day one to (David) Warner, he did it in 2019 to Steve (Smith), it's a really common thing for keepers to do... Alex Carey, full credit to him. He saw the opportunity a few balls beforehand and rolled at the stumps, Jonny left his crease and we'll leave the rest to the umpires."
Cummins also stressed his team did play within the spirit of cricket, amid constant cheating chants from England fans since the 2018 ball-tampering scandal.
"We've all played a lot of cricket. The spirit of cricket is really important," Cummins said.
"The way we've gone about it over the last couple of years has been fantastic. We should be really proud as a group."
The drama overshadowed a tremendous finish, as Stokes' fury over the incident resulted in an explosion of sixes and big heaves over the legside.
The left-hander smashed 46 runs from the first 21 balls after the drama, using the bowlers' angles up the famous Lord's slope and hitting with the wind to target the legside boundary from the Pavilion End.
The vast majority of his Ashes-record nine sixes came on that side of the ground, as the pressure began to tell and Australia spilled three separate chances to remove him.
For a 90-minute period it appeared the Lord's crowd, and Stokes, had been teleported back to England's famous one-wicket win at Headingley in 2019, such was its raucous nature and the allrounder's hitting power.
But with 70 runs required and scoring rates drying up, the pressure eventually swung to Stokes.
And when he skied a Josh Hazlewood short ball and Carey stood underneath it to take the catch, England's hopes were essentially over.
"I was able to take experiences from Headingley," Stokes said.
"Just going about it in a similar way, look to take my boundary options and also try and get some twos and get off strike towards the back end of the over.
"We nearly got there, but nearly is not enough unfortunately."
Hazlewood ended up with three wickets after also having Ben Duckett well caught by Carey on 83 earlier in the morning, while Cummins took 3-69 and Mitchell Starc 3-79 for the innings.
It gives Australia a chance to win the series at Headingley in the third Test starting on Thursday, where they will likely have a tired bowling pack and Todd Murphy in for the injured Nathan Lyon.
"It's a quick turnaround, but it's important we just take a pause for a moment and appreciate being up 2-0," Cummins said.