‘You write the laws you f------ idiots’: Australia’s reaction to Lord’s stumping row revealed

Usman Khawaja and David Warner stop to remonstrate with supporters in the Long Room
Usman Khawaja and David Warner stopped to remonstrate with supporters in the Long Room - SKY SPORTS CRICKET

The Australian cricket team’s immediate response to the infamous stumping of Jonny Bairstow at Lord’s last summer has been laid bare, with opener Marcus Harris telling a group of MCC members “you write the rules you f------ idiots”.

The story of the 2023 Ashes summer is told in the third series of the Test, the Prime Video documentary that follows the Australian side and is released on May 24. The series finished 2-2, with Australia giving up a 2-0 lead, and admitting they were “bullied” in the only drawn match, at Old Trafford, where rain denied England a strong shot at victory.

The series’ biggest flashpoint came shortly before lunch on the final day of the second Test at Lord’s, though, when Bairstow was controversially stumped by Alex Carey off a bouncer, having dozily wandered out of his ground believing Cameron Green’s over to be complete. It proved a key moment in a Test that Australia went on to win by 43 runs.

In the series, which features live footage from inside the away dressing room as well as interviews reflecting on the incident, the Australia captain Pat Cummins takes credit for the dismissal, saying he had spotted Bairstow walking out of his ground.

After Australia were booed off the field and through the Long Room in unprecedented scenes for Lord’s, their dressing room is a chaotic scene.

“Walking back into the Long Room, that is how I will always remember the Lord’s Test match,” reflects Cummins. “It was like we had ripped the soul out of them.

“Absolutely people stepped over the line. I don’t think that’s how you should treat people.

“You do something and you expect a certain outcome. That was, I thought, relatively vanilla, and it just blew up.”

Usman Khawaja, the opening batsman, took umbrage with an MCC member’s comments.

“One of the MCC members started spraying me,” he says. “I said: ‘Nah, you can’t be saying that stuff’. He said ‘I can say whatever I f------ want’, that sense of entitlement. There were three of them I called out, one of them was really inappropriate.”

In the away changing room, Marnus Labuschagne alleges that a member tried to trip David Warner on the stairs, before recalling an incident in the lunchroom.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a group of grown, old men [behave like that],” he says. “One bloke was foaming at the mouth. A block kicked Bull [Warner] as he was going up the stairs.

“You missed a brawl in the lunchroom! Jonny came in hot and said: ‘Are you guys happy with that?’ Davey was like, ‘Yep’. Priceless.”

Harris, who was acting as 12th man, reveals that he laughed off a members’ complaints by reminding them that the Marylebone Cricket Club, the owners of Lord’s, were the guardians of the game’s laws.

“They were kicking off over the fence,” he says. “I was like: ‘You write the rules you f------ idiots! It’s not our fault.’”

Australia’s players were, to a man, remorseless about the incident, with the spinner Nathan Lyon saying: “It’s a load of crap. It’s a stumping. It’s out every day of the week.” And Cummins adds: “For me it was clear cut, that’s out.”

The series also shows the fury of Australia’s players over a ball change in the final Test at the Oval after which they lost their top three in quick succession and slid to defeat.