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Ben Stokes slammed for ‘shameful’ act as controversy erupts during the fifth Ashes Test

Ben Stokes slammed for ‘shameful’ act as controversy erupts during the fifth Ashes Test

Read Time:4 Minute, 33 Second

Has Ben Stokes just had his Herschelle Gibbs moment?

With Australia pursuing the first Ashes series victory in England in 22 years and the fifth Test on a knife’s edge, England thought they had their man in Steve Smith on 39.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Ashes series ends in a draw.

Watch, Stream & Catch Up with Australia’s Home of Cricket on 7plus >>

Bowling the final over before lunch, Moeen Ali had a ball bounce up, take Smith’s glove and lob high to Stokes at leg slip.

Stokes leapt in the air to take it one-handed, and while he gathered it cleanly, the ball slipped out as his arm knocked his knee in celebration with one leg still in the air.

England’s captain knew immediately he had erred, and while he reviewed the decision, his worst fears were soon confirmed.

Ben Stokes drops the catch off Steve Smith and then asks for a review. Credit: Getty Images

Smith was not out, free to go on in Australia’s pursuit of 384 with the score 3-237 at the time.

And rightly so.

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Law 33.3 of cricket states that a catch can only be ruled to have been claimed when “a fielder obtains complete control over both the ball and his/her own movement”.

It was the same rule enacted on day four at Lord’s in the second Test, when Mitchell Starc thought he had caught Ben Duckett only for it to be overturned.

In that case, Starc was still sliding along the Lord’s outfield when he placed the ball on the ground to steady himself, making the catch null and void.

It’s also the same rule that denied Gibbs the wicket of Steve Waugh in a crucial World Cup group stage match at Headingley in 1999.

In perhaps cricket’s most famous dropped catch, Gibbs had the ball slip out of his hand while celebrating the wicket of Waugh at mid wicket.

Waugh went on to lead Australia to victory in that match to keep their tournament alive, before knocking out South Africa in the semi-final via a tie.

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At the time, Waugh was said to have told Gibbs he had just “dropped the World Cup”.

“As Stokes looks to celebrate, he drops the catch,” former England bowler Isa Guha said on BBC Test Match Special.

“That’s why he didn’t want to review. He has lost control of the ball there.”

Former England Test captain Alastair Cook added: “The umpires have got it right.

“There’s no question in my mind. Ben Stokes knew it, he put his head and eyes to the ground. I don’t think I’ve heard the crowd be so quiet during a DRS review.”

In the end, Stokes’ error did not come back to haunt him as Australia were bowled out for 334 with 18.3 overs left on Monday as they sunk to a 49-run loss, with Smith eventually falling for 54 when he edged Chris Woakes to slip.

“It was probably just a feeling of missed opportunity,” Australia captain Pat Cummins said during the post-match ceremony.

“It felt like we got ourselves into some really good positions winning the first two games.

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“In Headingley and this week we got into match-winning positions and just didn’t quite capitalise. That happens.

“Once we reflect, we will be proud we retained it. It’s been a wonderful tour. But we all turned up today hoping to get up and win 3-1.”

For Australia, they must now wait until 2027 for another chance to win in England.

By then, as few as three players from the fifth Test team may be available.

They will leave England as World Test Champions, having claimed the most famous win of this era at Edgbaston and a controversy-shrouded victory at Lord’s.

But despite it all, still feeling somewhat empty in a series they believed the legacy of this era would be defined.

“If it is our legacy, that is one I am happy to have,” Cummins said.

“The group has had some amazing achievements over the past few years.

“The last two series over here we retained the Ashes. That doesn’t happen very often.”

– With Joel Martelli

Aussies caught in verbal altercation with English heckler

Aussie rages after Pom’s bail trick messes with his head

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Australian cricketer Alex Carey’s ice-cold snub to Todd Murphy goes viral Previous post Australian cricketer Alex Carey’s ice-cold snub to Todd Murphy goes viral
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