COMMENTARY: Like it or not, cricket has laws and umpires must apply them… Alex Carey noticed Jonny Bairstow stepping out of line and took advantage
- Alex Carey noticed Jonny Bairstow was leaving his crease early and capitalized
- You may not agree with what he did, but it was within the laws of the game.
- Whether goalkeeper Carey was wise to taunt Ben Stokes is another matter.
My first instinct when Alex Carey threw the stumps was to wonder why Jonny Bairstow would risk leaving his line before the umpires decided the ball was dead.
Look at Ben Stokes: he regularly keeps his bat behind the line while checking with the fielding team that it’s okay to leave his line.
Because? Because he’s damned if he’s going to give his opponents a sniff of a cheap wicket.
I’ve never had much time for the idea that cricket has a spirit, which only seems to apply when the stakes are not high. Like it or not, cricket has laws, and they are for the umpires to enforce.
The only question on the mind of Marais Erasmus, the third referee, was whether the ball was dead when Carey released it.
Australia’s Alex Carey seized an opportunity to take wicket to stump Jonny Bairstow
It wasn’t wise of him to provoke Ben Stokes, but ‘keeper Carey was operating within the law.
The England players were furious, but Carey realized that Bairstow left his crease early.
Unfortunately for England, it was not. If Carey had paused for a couple of seconds, it would have been different.
Was it an acute practice? Yes a bit. And let’s be honest: things would get tedious if the wicketkeeper didn’t set the ball up on the stumps after each delivery just in case the batsman was gone.
But, as Sky showed, Carey had noticed that Bairstow was leaving his crease early. For him, it was a chance to take the wicket.
It was a crucial stage of a crucial Test, and the Ashes were at stake. He can disapprove of what Carey did, but he can’t argue that he was operating outside the law.
Additionally, Bairstow attempted to dismiss Marnus Labuschagne in the same fashion during Australia’s second innings.