Ashes tour diary: Bairstow and Stokes stand up to fan taunts, Covid recoveries, and Pink Test success

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Ashes tour diary: Bairstow and Stokes stand up to fan taunts, Covid recoveries, and Pink Test success
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It was an interesting day for Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow. Not only was Stokes given out lbw when bowled, without the bails being dislodged, but the pair were then abused as they left the field at tea after a wicketless session.

Both men were abused by a fan for being overweight – “Stokes, you’re fat!”; “Lose some weight, Bairstow!” – then fought back. “That’s right, turn around and walk away,” said Bairstow. “Weak as p**s”. The offending individuals were later ejected from the SCG.

“It was a bit of bad-mouthing from the crowd,” Bairstow said later. “Obviously, it’s not the greatest, it’s not needed. We’re out there trying to do our jobs, people are there enjoying the cricket.

“Unfortunately, sometimes you have people who overstep the mark. I think it is important to stand up for ourselves because if we are not standing up for ourselves, you can cop it. When people overstep the mark, they need to be told.

“It would have been nice if they had been there giving it when we walked off at the end. Unfortunately, they weren’t there at the end and they missed the end of a fantastic day’s Test cricket.”

Scotty From Marketing puts his foot in it again

Australia’s embattled Prime Minister Scott Morrison, very pleased with himself for diverting his latest political crisis by (rightly) making a fool out of Novak Djokovic and his anti-vax stance, was at the SCG on Friday, and at lunch he appeared on Fox.

”This is living with the virus, and this is Australia taking wickets with the virus,” was one of his weirder pronouncements.

With impeccable timing, Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow batted through a wicketless session….

 (AAP Image via REUTERS)
(AAP Image via REUTERS)

Getting there

England are getting the band back together. Strength and Conditioning Coach Darren Veness was out of isolation and back with the squad for day one of the Test, and Jeetan Patel joined on day three after he overcame the virus.

England are still waiting on Jon Lewis, the fast bowling coach, and Chris Silverwood, the boss. Silverwood hopes to be back with the group in Hobart.

Travis Head is back with the Australian squad, too.

Duck watch

We don’t want to have to fire this up again, but the #RoadTo55 is on.

It was almost too perfect that Joe Root, the weight of carrying England’s batting in 2021 becoming too much, would make the first duck this time.

Jos Buttler made it two later in the day, setting England on the way to the record-equalling 54 they made last year. There are going to be fewer Tests this year (12, probably): surely it’s not possible? Never write England off.

 (PA)
(PA)

Good on ya, Glenn

At Pink Day in memory of his late wife Jane, there was sadly no Glenn McGrath, as he continues to isolate after contracting Covid-19, just like many of his broadcast colleagues.

And a crowd affected by Covid and the lack of travelling English support could not prevent this being a wonderful day for the charity.

They sold more than “200,000 Virtual Pink Seats” for the game, raising 4million AUS dollars to fund Breast Care Nurses. A very special day each year.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Get on with the game

The only (other) gripe with the SCG crowd: the constant interruptions from fans walking behind the bowler’s arm just as he was running in.

England’s batters, mainly Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, must have had to pause at least 20 times, with Australia’s fielders just as frustrated with the fans. Embarrassing.

What did Zak Crawley say in Melbourne?

Zak Crawley was the first of three England batters – Stokes and Bairstow were the others – to be hit on the hand by nasty lifters on a pitch doing a bit.

Mitch Starc was the bowler, and he remorselessly turned round despite Crawley being in obvious pain and shouted to his teammate Nathan Lyon: "Gazza, what did he say to you the other night? ... Yeah, I thought so”.

We can only assume that Crawley – normally the mildest mannered young man going round – had a little bit to say when Lyon did nightwatchman duties on day one of Australia’s thumping win in Melbourne.

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