Ben Stokes is a freak for what he can pull off in cricket: Steve Smith


Day 5, Start of play: England require 257 runs to win with six wickets in hand. Ben Duckett (50*) and Ben Stokes (29*) in the middle.

Michael Vaughan: ‘A crucial blow for Australia, a really good effort from Duckett’

Having already added 69 runs for the fifth wicket, Duckett and Stokes pile another quickfire 63 runs off 93 deliveries early in the first session. No secrets here, England want to chase down 371. Duckett before the start of play tells Eoin Morgan on Sky Sports, “At the end of the day we need to chase 245, we need runs…. Didn’t sleep too much last night, thinking about today. It’s going to be so exciting. It’s set for a good day. Hopefully, me and Stokesy can start well and put them under pressure.” Josh Hazlewood pipes down the anticipation as he bangs a short ball and Duckett edges it behind for Alex Carey to complete an excellent one handed grab.

Michael Vaughan on BBC Test Match Special: “Brilliant catch by Carey, the Aussies haven’t got it short enough to Duckett but that one was really steep. A crucial blow for Australia, a really good effort from Duckett. He’s got his head down.”

Brendon McCullum on Bairstow run-out: ‘I can’t imagine we’ll be having a beer any time soon’

Jonny Bairstow has been a pivotal batting cast member of England’s ‘Bazball’ revolution. His stay on the final day at Lord’s however is cut short owing to the bizarre. Leaving alone the final ball of the 52nd over, the keeper batter almost instantly vacates the crease and starts moving towards his partner. He thinks the ball is dead, but Alex Carey ensures his underarm throw hits the stumps and the Australians start celebrating. Bairstow looks perplexed. Third umpire, Marais Erasmus has a check and deems the Englishman out. A few words are exchanged between the two sets of players in the middle. “That’s all you’re ever going to be remembered for,” Stuart Broad is heard on the stump mic telling Alex Carey a few moments later.

Pat Cummins (post match): “I think Carey saw it a few balls previous, there was no pause, he catches it and throws it straight at the stumps. I thought it was totally fair play. That’s the rule, some people might disagree but just like the catch yesterday, the rule is there and that is the way I saw it.”

Brendon McCullum to BBC TMS: “I can’t imagine we (two teams) will be having a beer any time soon.”

Ravi Ashwin on Twitter: We must get one fact loud and clear. The keeper would never have a dip at the stumps from that far out in a test match unless he or his team have noticed a pattern of the batter leaving his crease after leaving a ball like Bairstow did. We must applaud the game smarts of the individual rather than skewing it towards unfair play or spirit of the game.”


Eoin Morgan: I’ve never seen scenes like that in the Long Room

At Lunch, as the Australian players make way to the dressing room via the Long Room at the Lord’s Cricket Ground, an eerie sound of boos reverberates followed by Usman Khawaja being involved in a verbal exchange with a couple of the members present in the room.

Eoin Morgan to Sky Sports: “I arrived here, signed as a 16-year-old kid and have played my whole career here. I’ve never seen scenes like that, particularly in the Long Room. Never mind, all the way around the ground. There’s a huge sense of frustration, but I can understand why. It’s complete naivety around what has happened with Jonny Bairstow’s dismissal.”

2nd session

Steve Smith: ’Ben Stokes is a freak for what he can pull off in cricket’

The England skipper takes off, inspired by his Headingley 2019 self, moving from 64 off 129 deliveries to 108 off 147 at Lunch. The hosts are now 128 runs away from a second highest chase in the format. Stokes is unhinged as he nails 24 off Cameron Green’s last over of the session – including three sixes in a row. After break, he goes on to register only his third 150 plus score in Tests. But his short ball clean hitting only lasts until the Hazlewood wobble seam in-ducker. An edge and a catch from Carey behind the stumps. The Australian players, Smith, Cummins, Khawaja, all run to the England captain for a well deserved pat on the back.

Ben Stokes (post match): “Having experienced something similar before you look back at things like that and have a game plan. I did look back at Headingley but unfortunately it wasn’t enough.”

Steve Smith (post match): “A bit of deja vu, he (Stokes) is an unbelievable player. He is a freak for what he can pull off in cricket – in different formats, on this ground, in this country, he has done some incredible things. He was targeting the short end, and the first shot that he tried the other end, he got out.”

Glenn McGrath: ‘We’ve not seen a Lord’s Test like this one’

Australia get the wicket they want and the floodgates open at Lord’s. After Stokes’ departure, Ollie Robinson, Stuart Broad and Josh Tongue follow suit inside the span of eight overs. The short ball has been an obvious tactic deployed from the Aussies throughout the Test. Broadcast graphics on the final day display: almost 85 percent of the deliveries have been back of a length. Two of the last three wickets come from the same length. Australia bag a 43-run win and go 2-0 up in the series.

Pat Cummins to BBC TMS: “A fantastic game like Edgbaston, not much more to say.

Ben Stokes (post match): “Reckless is an easy word to use, what me and Brendon have done is give guys complete clarity. We don’t ask them to play a certain way, but if they play a certain way they have the full backing of the dressing room. So the message out there is to play with clarity, I might play a bowler differently than someone else but when we are walking out there we have complete clarity.”

Glenn McGrath on BBC TMS: “Australia were in the box seat at start of play. It was going to take something very, very special from England. Every day of this Test something incredible has happened and I don’t think we have seen a Lord’s Test like this one.”


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