Australia and England got down to action yet again in the third Ashes Test after a controversial dismissal of Jonny Bairstow, in the second Ashes Test, looked to sour the contest. Bairstow’s stumping by Alex Carey off Cameron Green’s bowling was widely covered and divided opinions. While many people opined that it was within the laws of the game, many former players thought that the spirit of cricket was not upheld. The repercussions of that incident was felt in the third Test too as the Leeds crowd vociferously trolled and booed almost every other Australian batter’s departure.
Even Steve Smith, who is playing his 100th Test was not spared. And this has irked former Australia player Tom Moody. The crowd welcomed the star batsman to the crease with a rendition of “we saw you crying on the tele,” in reference to his infamous press conference after being stripped of the captaincy following a 2018 ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.
“Booing a player entering the field of play in their 100th test! #SpiritOfCricket. And that’s not a Law, it’s just showing respect for one another,” Moody tweeted.
The first sign of things to come arrived half-an-hour before play, as England fans roundly booed when Carey’s name was read out. Having won the toss and elected to bowl, England deprived the Western Terrace of the opportunity to taunt Australia’s fielders. “We can still give Aussies stick if we want to, but it’s not all about giving Aussies stick, that’s only part of the fun,” said John Staniforth, 55. The home fans were soon on their feet when Australia opener David Warner was caught in the slips. “The first ball goes for four and it all looked worrying, then four balls later you are cheering “cheerio”, you can’t ask for a better start,” said Woolrych. A hush descended as Australia, who are 2-0 up in the best-of-five series, found their rhythm, but the arrival of fast bowler Mark Wood and his 95mph rockets soon had them fired up again. That climaxed with the spectacular wicket of Usman Khawaja, whose stumps were splattered by another Wood missile, bringing Steve Smith, England’s tormentor-in-chief, to the middle.