Australia skipper defends Ben Stokes’ Obstructing the Field dismissal, saying it was within the rules
London: Australia captain Steven Smith had no qualms about his part in the controversial dismissal of England’s Ben Stokes for Obstructing the Field in the second ODI at Lord’s on Saturday.
Australia skipper Steven Smith and England captain Eoin Morgan argue after the dismissal of Ben Stokes at Lord’s on Saturday. PIC/Getty Images
Australia won by 64 runs to go 2-0 up in the five-match series. But that was all overshadowed by the exit of Stokes during England’s unsuccessful run chase. In the 26th over, Stokes struck a straight drive which was stopped by bowler Mitchell Starc. Pacer Starc then hurled the ball back hard towards Stokes who, leaning back and turning his head away, stopped it with a hand taken off the bat.
Australia appealed, believing Stokes had prevented a possible direct hit run out on his own stumps, and on-field umpires Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka and former England batsman Tim Robinson referred the issue to third umpire Joel Wilson. West Indian official Wilson gave Stokes, sparking the unusual sound of a chorus of boos.
No reason to withdraw
Smith could have withdrawn the appeal. But he saw no reason why he should and said the close-at-hand view of wicketkeeper Matthew Wade strengthened him in his original decision. “Wadey had a good view of it from behind the stumps, and he said straightaway that he thought the ball was missing Stokesy and was going to go on and hit the stumps,” said Smith.
“The way I saw it, he was out of his ground, and he wilfully put his hand out — which is the rule... and he got given out by the third umpire,” added the captain, who top-scored with 70 when batting conditions were at their toughest.
“If you look at it... the ball was going towards the stumps, and wasn’t even going to hit him. “So I think he’s put his hand out to stop the ball.”
The booing, of Starc especially, continued until the end of the match. Smith added: “I thought that was quite disappointing. The umpire deemed it to be out. So I think we’ve just got to move on from that, and continue playing the game of cricket.”
Law 37: Obstructing the field.
>> A batsmen is out obstructing the field if he wilfully attempts to obstruct or distract the fielding side by word or action. In particular, but not solely, it shall be regarded as obstruction and either batsman will be out Obstructing the Field if while the ball is in play and after the striker has completed the act of playing the ball, as defined in Law 33.1, he wilfully strikes the ball with (i) a hand not holding the bat, unless this is in order to avoid injury. (ii) any other part of his person or with his bat.
>> Accidental obstruction: It is for either umpire to decide whether any obstruction or distraction is wilful or not. He shall consult the other umpire if he has any doubt.