England’s Jonny Bairstow was dismissed in controversial circumstances on the final day of the second Ashes Test at Lord’s.

Chasing 371 to win and level the series, England were 193 for five when Bairstow ducked under a bouncer from Cameron Green, tapped the crease and began to walk down to prod the pitch.

However, Australia wicketkeeper Alex Carey sent an under-arm throw in after catching the ball, leaping for joy as he hit the stumps and the visitors proceeded with a deeply divisive appeal as Bairstow was given out stumped.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some other controversial dismissals in the history of cricket.

Charlie Dean, September 24, 2022

Dean had looked comfortable at the crease as England took on India in the last one-day international of the summer at Lord’s, making 47 at number nine as the home side moved into contention for an unlikely victory. However, Dean was then the victim of a so-called ‘Mankad’ dismissal as she was run out at the non-striker’s end. Deepti Sharma took the bails off after entering her delivery stride and, after the decision was upheld by the third umpire, India secured a 16-run victory as Dean threw her bat to the ground in tears and boos rang out from the crowd.

Ben Stokes, September 5, 2015

Stokes was given out obstructing the field in England’s Royal London Series one-day international against Australia at Lord’s, becoming only the seventh batter to be dismissed this way in the history of international cricket. Chasing 310 to win, Eoin Morgan’s side were 141 for three in the 26th over when Stokes intercepted Mitchell Starc’s shy at the stumps with his hand after the seamer fielded a straight drive. Stokes was given out by umpire Kumar Dharmasena after the incident was reviewed, the decision that he wilfully interrupted the ball’s path to protect his wicket being greeted with boos from the crowd.

Grant Elliott, September 25, 2008

New Zealand claimed a one-wicket win over England in their NatWest Series clash at The Oval, despite the controversial dismissal of Grant Elliott. Elliott set off for a single after dropping a delivery from Ryan Sidebottom at his feet, only for Sidebottom to shoulder-charge into him in his desire to reach the ball. Elliott was knocked to the floor and was run out when Ian Bell returned the ball to Kevin Pietersen, who removed the bails. England captain Paul Collingwood went through with the appeal and a furious New Zealand squad made their feelings known to the England hierarchy on their nearby balcony.

Michael Vaughan, December 19, 2001

In the final Test against India in Bangalore, Vaughan was given out handled the ball, only the seventh player to be dismissed in such a manner in Test history. Attempting a sweep, Vaughan failed to connect with a Sarandeep Singh delivery and when the ball trickled off his pads he instinctively grabbed it with his right hand and ushered it away. Virender Sehwag appealed at short leg and umpire AV Jayaprakash gave Vaughan out. “There was no way it would have hit the stumps and I just thought it was the right thing to do, to flick the ball to the short leg and help him out so we could get on with the game,” Vaughan said.

Alvin Kallicharran, February, 1974

Having made 142, West Indian batsman Alvin Kallicharran watched Bernard Julien play the last ball of the first day to Tony Greig at silly point before walking down the pitch towards the pavilion. Greig threw down the stumps at the non-striker’s end and Kallicharran was given out by Douglas Sang Hue only to be reinstated next morning due to the ill feeling. He added 16 more runs to his total.

Olly Stone’s faint hopes of featuring for England in this summer’s Ashes might rest on the outcome of a scan on Monday to determine the severity of his latest injury.

Stone was ruled out of the early part of the series because of a hamstring problem and he bowled just three balls on his comeback for Nottinghamshire in the Vitality Blast on Friday before limping off.

The PA news agency understands Stone felt a twinge at the back of his knee on the same leg as the hamstring complaint, prompting him to exercise caution in Nottinghamshire’s loss to Birmingham Bears.

The results of Monday’s assessment will shed some light on the extent of the issue – and whether England will be deprived of another fast bowler in their bid to reclaim the urn from their arch rivals.

England wanted plenty of options with the Tests coming thick and fast but Stone’s lack of match sharpness must also be a considerable factor, even if the 29-year-old’s fresh knock is not serious.

While Stone has played just three Tests, the last in June 2021, his ability to consistently hit speeds of 90mph was recognised earlier this year by England and Wales Cricket Board managing director Rob Key.

England’s other express pace options have also not featured in the first two Tests against Australia, with Jofra Archer sidelined for the summer although Mark Wood could return at Headingley next week.

Stone has had a luckless run with injuries that have limited him to just 46 first-class matches since June 2012, including four stress fractures of the back – the most recent led to surgery to reinforce his lower spine with two metal screws in a bid to improve his prospects of playing more Tests.

He made an impact in four ODIs and a T20 over the winter after returning from a broken finger last summer – and could be in contention as England defend their World Cup in India later this year.

Stone was an unused squad member during England’s Test tour of New Zealand in February before taking six wickets in two matches for Nottinghamshire in the LV= Insurance County Championship.

Injury struck in early May against Lancashire but despite being in obvious discomfort, Stone hobbled to the crease as last man and kept out the last four legal deliveries of the Division One match to help Nottinghamshire salvage a draw.

The 29-year-old took a fine catch against the Bears as he came back for Nottinghamshire but pulling up midway through his first over meant an early exit from the match.

Ben Stokes smashed his way to an angry century at Lord’s after Jonny Bairstow was controversially dismissed amid febrile scenes on the final day of the second Ashes Test.

Stokes went on a six-hitting rampage as he set out for apparent retribution in the aftermath of Alex Carey’s highly divisive stumping of Bairstow, hammering his way to a jaw-dropping hundred.

By the time the lunch interval intervened, England needed another 128 runs on 243 for six, with Stokes looking imperious on 108 not out.

The home of cricket, renowned as one of the most polite sporting arenas in the world, erupted in a chorus of boos and chants of “same old Aussies, always cheating” after Bairstow was given out in bizarre circumstances at a pivotal point in the game.

England were 193 for five chasing 371 when Bairstow ducked under a bouncer from Cameron Green, tapped the crease and began to walk down to prod the pitch.

Australia wicketkeeper Carey sent an under-arm throw in after catching the ball, leaping for joy as he hit the stumps. There was confusion in the middle, Bairstow seemingly believing the ball was dead at the end of the over but Australia were happy to proceed with a deeply divisive appeal.

The umpires sent the decision upstairs for review by TV umpire Marais Erasmus, who had no option but to confirm Bairstow’s dismissal.

The Yorkshireman reluctantly stomped off to the pavilion as a crowd of almost 32,000 – taking advantage of reduced £25 tickets – poured out their anger on the touring team.

A bitter row about the ‘spirit of cricket’ will surely follow, while Bairstow’s lack of attention to detail is also liable to receive plenty of attention.

Stuart Broad threw himself into the row, seemingly picked up on stump microphone telling Carey he would be remembered forever for his actions, and later making an ostentatious show of grounding his bat behind the line at the end of an over.

But Stokes was the man at the centre of the storm. He was on 62 not out at the time, playing with notable maturity, but suddenly began a frenzied display of furious hitting with 46 runs off his next 21 deliveries.

He pulled Green for three muscular boundaries in his next over, then sent a rocket straight back at Pat Cummins, who could not hang on – attracting a few more words from Broad as the Australia captain lay on the ground.

Stokes then blazed 24 off the hapless Green’s next visit, with three consecutive sixes heaved into the on-side.

The session ended in unbearable tension, with television cameras apparently picking up Australian players exchanging words with members in the Long Room.

England will look to captain Ben Stokes on the last day of the second Ashes Test at Lord’s in their attempt to pull off another miraculous chase.

Day four had initially been slow going for most of the morning and afternoon session before a dramatic final few hours on Saturday night saw Australia all out for 279 and England reduced to 114 for four in pursuit of 371.

It only told half the story with bouncers aplenty and Nathan Lyon writing his name in Ashes folklore.

Opener Ben Duckett remains at the crease after he earned a late reprieve and the equation is now simple; Australia need six more wickets to move 2-0 up and England a further 257 runs to clinch a record-breaking Lord’s chase.

View from the dressing roomAnother record chase?

The Stokes and Brendon McCullum era kicked off last summer with a fourth-innings chase at Lord’s against New Zealand and it may take another to keep the wheels on track.

Critics are ready to pile in on England’s ‘Bazball’ approach, which has veered too far on the aggressive dial at times during this Test, but the skipper has been the exception to the rule with an impressive degree of patience in both of his innings so far.

When England chased 279 to beat New Zealand at Lord’s, it proved the catalyst for a memorable summer with an incredible 378 knocked off against India at Edgbaston but the true test of this free spirit style was always going to come against Australia. Defeat on Sunday will leave Australia with one hand on the urn and may land a telling blow on the confidence of a group who insist entertainment tops everything.

Limping Lyon shows heart

Lyon wrote his name firmly into Ashes folklore with a batting display of pure guts and determination. A “significant” calf strain for the Australia spinner on day two means he is unlikely to feature again in the Ashes, but he made sure there would be one final contribution in this series.

With Australia reduced to 264 for nine, a lead of 355, Lyon hobbled out to a round of applause. He had been on crutches since his injury on Thursday night and started his journey through the Lord’s corridors when the eighth wicket went down in fear of being timed out.

After he limped out, a crazy 25-minute period followed with Lyon able to middle a number from the bat but not in any fit state to take the runs on offer, although he did hop through for a single before his crowning moment arrived when he pulled Broad for four. He was out later in the over, but left to a standing ovation following a brave 13-ball knock of four that helped the Aussies add 15 more runs.

Amazing Ahmed acrobatics

The comical scene of Lyon hopping through for a single only happened because of an outstanding piece of fielding by substitute Rehan Ahmed, who somehow prevented Starc’s big heave off Broad clearing the boundary rope.

With Lyon unable to run singles and England continuously bowling bumpers, Starc took on the big shot but saw his pull clawed back by Ahmed in mid-air before Zak Crawley collected the bouncing ball to force Lyon to limp across the wicket from the pavilion end.

It was play of the day during a remarkable passage of cricket.

Safe hands Joe

When Joe Root took a sharp chance with his left hand at short leg to dismiss Travis Head off Broad’s bowling after lunch, it helped the ex-England captain clinch another record.

It was Root’s 176th Test catch, taking him beyond Sir Alastair Cook’s record total for England excluding wicketkeepers.

Root, in typical fashion, quickly set about extending his tally with two further grabs to send Alex Carey and Josh Hazlewood back to the pavilion during a barrage of short-pitched bowling by the hosts in the morning and afternoon session.

Starc warning

Most of the talk was of a catch which did not stand, though, with former Australia bowler Glenn McGrath labelling the decision to overturn Starc’s grab of Duckett “a disgrace”.

The Marylebone Cricket Club, custodians of the laws of the game as well as owners of Lord’s, were quick to clarify the relevant law in support of the umpires.

“Law 33.3 clearly states that a catch is only completed when the fielder has “complete control over the ball and his/her own movement,” the MCC wrote on Twitter.

“The ball cannot touch the ground before then. In this particular incident, Mitchell Starc was still sliding as the ball rubbed the ground, therefore he was not in control of his movement.”

Prince George tucks in

Day four of the second Ashes Test was enjoyed by The Prince of Wales and his son Prince George.

George, aged nine, looked to be engrossed in the action while equally focused on his pizza as his father caught up with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in a box at Lord’s.

All three will hope to have witnessed the start of a record chase.

England gave control of the second Ashes Test to Australia with a host of unforced batting errors at Lord’s, handing over a big first-innings lead of 91 on day three.

From a serene position of 188 for one midway through the second evening, the hosts collapsed to 325 all out in response to Australia’s 416. An England side who have thrived on a policy of ‘no regrets’ may yet consider reviewing their approach after following some loose dismissals late on day two by losing five for 47.

Openers Usman Khawaja and David Warner took advantage to 103 in a six-over session before lunch and, with spinner Nathan Lyon highly unlikely to play any further part in the match due to a serious calf injury, the tourists will be looking to leave a formidable chase behind them.

England’s travails began almost immediately, Ben Stokes out to his first delivery of the morning. The captain had played a deliberately responsible innings late on Thursday, curbing his own natural aggression to suck some of the heat out of the damaging bouncer battle that cost Ollie Pope, Ben Duckett and Joe Root their wickets.

But his hard work was undone in an instant when Mitchell Starc angled one across middle stump, extracted some extra bounce and took a thick edge as Stokes (17) angled the bat towards midwicket. Cameron Green took the catch and England’s best laid plans were already up in smoke.

Australia offered no respite, Starc and Pat Cummins bowling with hostility and repeatedly threatening Harry Brook and Jonny Bairstow with deliveries that reared up off the pitch. Brook, resuming on 45, was hit on both glove and helmet before bringing up his half-century but that was as far as he got.

Faced with a fiercely difficult contest he tried to slog his way out of trouble, backing away to leg and attempting to swat Starc down the ground. Brook has made his name as a free spirit in the middle order but as the ball popped up to cover it was a soft and unedifying way to go.

After an hour’s play England had added just 33 for two with Stuart Broad playing against type in a bid to support Bairstow. But the unforced errors kept coming, Bairstow reaching 16 before hacking Josh Hazlewood to mid-on after his eyes lit up at a rare full ball.

Australia’s ruthless streak was out in force now, Green rattling Broad’s grille with a 86mph lifter that left the England physio assessing his jaw. The next two wickets fell to the part-time spin of Lyon’s temporary stand-in, Travis Head, Robinson caught behind on the charge and Broad lbw on the sweep.

Cummins made it three wickets in seven balls when number 11 Josh Tongue popped a catch to short-leg, ending an innings littered with regrets for the home side.

James Anderson and Broad sent down three testing overs before the break but could not conjure the breakthrough they badly needed as Australia settled on 12 without loss.

Nathan Lyon’s chances of playing any further part in the Ashes look slim after Cricket Australia confirmed he had suffered a “significant” calf strain.

Lyon had arrived on the third morning at Lord’s on crutches after he had to be helped off the pitch on Thursday evening after pulling up with a calf problem during his fielding stint in the deep.

The Australia spinner, playing his 100th consecutive Test, looked distraught as he hobbled around the boundary edge and, when he joined his team-mates at the ground on Friday morning, his reliance on crutches raised alarm bells over his chances of being fit for the last three Tests of the series.

A Cricket Australia spokesperson said: “Nathan Lyon has been diagnosed with a significant calf strain. He will require a period of rehabilitation after this match is concluded.

“A decision regarding his availability for the remainder of the series will be made at the conclusion of the game.”

Lyon had a scan on Thursday night before a further assessment took place ahead of day three getting under way, but no grading has been attached to his calf strain.

Nathan Lyon’s chances of playing any further part in the Ashes looked to be in doubt after he arrived on the third morning at Lord’s on crutches.

The Australia spinner had to be helped off the pitch on Thursday evening after pulling up with an apparent calf problem as he fielded in the deep.

The 35-year-old, playing his 100th consecutive Test, looked distraught as he hobbled around the boundary edge with question marks immediately raised over his continued presence on the tour.

He joined his team-mates at the ground on Friday morning, but his reliance on crutches and the presence of a compression sock told its own story.

It now seems almost impossible that he will be play a role in ongoing match, while the three-day turnaround before the third Test at Headingley means that must be highly unlikely too.

Cricket Australia’s medical staff are monitoring Lyon but offered no official update as he battles to save his series.

Steve Smith admitted he was not optimistic when asked about the injury at the end of day two.

“Obviously it didn’t look good,” he said.

“I mean it doesn’t look ideal for the rest of the game. I’m not sure how he actually is, but if he is no good, it is obviously a big loss for us.

“Fingers crossed he is okay but it didn’t look good.”

Australia have three part-time spinners who may be asked to pick up a share of the workload over the next three days, with Smith joined by Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne, but should Lyon be ruled out of the next match Todd Murphy is in line for promotion.

Ben Stokes and Harry Brook will aim to help England into a first-innings lead on the third morning of the second Ashes Test at Lord’s.

England punched back on an absorbing day two, with Australia losing their last seven wickets for 100 runs as they collapsed from 339 for five overnight to 416 all out.

Steve Smith still brought up his 12th Ashes century, but the hosts quickly set about eating into the deficit and Ben Duckett led the charge with a fine 98.

Australia’s tactic of bowling short produced a gripping final session and accounted for Duckett, Ollie Pope and Joe Root.

But Stokes calmed the storm with a mature unbeaten 17 from 57 balls and will hope to push England on from 278 for four alongside Brook (45no).

View from the dressing roomComparisons to 2005 you say?

Nathan Lyon’s calf injury may not just be match-defining, but could have a significant say on who wins the series.


In his 100th consecutive Test, Lyon raced in from the boundary rope to try and catch Duckett’s lofted pull shot in the 37th over of England’s innings, but halted his stride. He immediately felt the back of his right calf and had to be helped off by a member of Australia’s medical team.

Lyon limped back to the pavilion and there are fears about his future involvement in the rest of the Ashes.

It brought back memories of Glenn McGrath’s busted ankle on the eve of the second Test in the 2005 series.

Harry hanging high

Brook was one of several England batters to walk into the face of a barrage of short-pitch bowling during an entertaining evening session on day two.

Runs followed, but so did wickets with Duckett, Pope and Root all picking out fielders on the boundary rope.

It sparked debate over whether a more conservative approach should be taken, especially given the extra load now expected of the Aussie seamers in Lyon’s anticipated absence.

Brook kept up the aggressive ‘Bazball’ mantra and enjoyed one life when Marnus Labuschagne put down a sharp chance, but Stokes was surprisingly more measured.

It was the type of captain’s knock England needed to ensure they did not lose their momentum.

Smith loves Lord’s and England!

Smith produced another superb Ashes innings of 110 and reached three figures with a gorgeous cover drive. Records tumble when the idiosyncrasies of the Test great are on display at the crease.

This effort was not only his second century at Lord’s, after hitting 215 in the 2015 series, but also the eighth time he has scored a Test hundred in England. His tally of 12 in Ashes Tests has moved him up to joint-third on the list of most centuries against one team.

But Don Bradman’s mark of 19 hundreds against England remains a little out of reach though.

Creepy crunches another

Smith had a couple of contenders for shot of the day but Zak ‘Creepy’ Crawley deserves the honour for his sumptuous drive straight after lunch.

It was not punched away like his first ball at Edgbaston, but was played with the pleasing sight of a straight bat and helped the Kent batter make 48.

However, fellow opener Duckett stole the show with arguably his best Test innings for England.

There would be no crowning century, after he pulled Josh Hazlewood to David Warner at fine leg on 98, but his array of square drives and cuts backed up his desire to continuously get bat on ball.

Home of cricket turns red for Ruth


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It was another hugely successful ‘Red for Ruth’ Day with more than £400,000 raised for the Ruth Strauss Foundation. Ex-England opener Strauss set up the charity in memory of his wife Ruth, who died in 2018 from a non-smoking lung cancer.

The foundation supports thousands of families that deal with the impact of a terminal cancer diagnosis. More funds will be raised with items to be donated, including the match-worn clothes of both England and Australia.

Strauss and his sons Sam and Luca rang the bell before day two and witnessed a Lord’s covered in red.

“A tough day, an emotional day and a beautiful day,” Strauss reflected. “It is great to have my boys with me to see everything Ruth stood for. It helps to know we are helping so many families.”

England will eye early wickets on day two of the second Ashes Test after Steve Smith helped Australia make a strong start in their quest to move 2-0 up in the series.

Smith was unbeaten on 85 at the end of the first day at Lord’s with Australia able to close on 339 for five, a score which would have been even better had Joe Root not struck twice late on with his part-time spin.

David Warner and Travis Head contributed half-centuries as England disappointingly failed to make the most of winning the toss and bowling on a green-tinged wicket under cloudy skies in the capital.

Only Ashes debutant Josh Tongue, who claimed two for 88, was able to make a significant impact out of the hosts’ all-seam attack but captain Ben Stokes will hope that can change on the second morning despite the threat of rain.

View from the dressing roomPope’s on ice

England have work to do before they can think about batting at the home of cricket, but they do have concerns over the fitness of Ollie Pope.

Vice-captain Pope injured his right shoulder while fielding soon after lunch and did not return to the field.

It has heightened fears he will not be able to bat during the rest of the Test.

The Surrey batter spent most of day one being treated with ice, but if fit he can bat in his usual number three slot and will not incur any penalty time for being off the field of play due to this being an impact injury.

Here’s Jonny!

The second Ashes Test was only six balls old when Just Stop Oil protesters ran on to the field and headed for the Lord’s wicket, but it was Jonny Bairstow who came to the rescue.

England’s wicketkeeper picked up one of the men and carted them over the boundary edge. The other protester, who momentarily attracted the attention of Ben Stokes and Australia’s David Warner, was intercepted by security staff.

Bairstow did have to change his orange-stained whites but his “swift hands” were praised by an official spokesman for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. All three protesters were arrested.

Organisers will hope the headlines from day two are just about the cricket.

Sloppy England overstep the mark

Root’s late double scalp helped spare England’s blushes on what had largely been a poor day.

The hosts’ sluggishness started with Root putting down a low catch from Usman Khawaja in the fifth over and while the Australian batter did not cash in, his fellow opener Warner did make the most of a life on 20 – when Pope dropped a sharp chance at third slip – to register a half-century.

Even more eye-catching than those drops were the 12 no-balls Stokes’ side bowled. After 23 no-balls at Edgbaston, it is an area where improvement is required – especially for Robinson, who overstepped on six occasions.

Josh gets Tongues wagging

A crumb of comfort for England was the display of Tongue. After being hit for a few early boundaries, he stuck to his guns and conjured up a superb inswinging delivery to dismiss Khawaja on the stroke of lunch.

Better was to follow in the afternoon session when the Worcestershire seamer produced a brilliant over of Ashes cricket.

With Warner at the crease, Tongue had the aggressive Aussie tied up in knots with no answer to both the inswinger or outswinger.

It was a wonderful delivery that jagged back in and went through Warner’s defence that did for the opener, with the ball clipping his leg-stump.

Red for Ruth Day

Rivalries will be put to one side on Thursday for the Ruth Strauss Foundation with both England and Australia players joining fans and pundits in turning Lord’s into a sea of red.

Former England captain Sir Andrew Strauss set up the charity in memory of his late wife Ruth, who died in 2018 from a non-smoking lung cancer.

The foundation supports thousands of families as they deal with the impact of terminal cancer diagnosis and day two will aim to raise more funds and awareness.

Sports stars and clubs across the world continue to provide an insight into their lives on social media.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the best examples from June 28.


The excitement for the second Ashes Test started early in the day.

But it was a surprise move from Jonny Bairstow making the early headlines at Lord’s.

Nathan Lyon made history.


Manchester City were still celebrating their big news from Tuesday.

They were also marking Kevin De Bruyne’s big day.

Liverpool sent Rhys Williams on loan to Aberdeen.

This is how the Dons announced the move.

Ireland produced something special to announce their World Cup squad.

Hull were celebrating a birthday.


Min Woo Lee was having a tough time at the mini golf ahead of the British Masters.

Justin Rose looked happy to be at The Belfry.

Tournament host Sir Nick Faldo was a man in demand.

Josh Tongue removed Usman Khawaja in the final over before lunch to spare England a wicketless first session in the second Ashes Test at Lord’s.

Ben Stokes could hardly hide his smile after winning the toss but despite a light covering of green grass, grey clouds overhead and floodlights in operation throughout the opening session, Australia appeared to be cruising towards the interval in control.

But Tongue, making his Ashes bow after replacing spinner Moeen Ali in the home XI, produced the breakthrough England craved when Khawaja offered no shot to a ball that came in from round the wicket and clipped the top of off stump.

That left the tourists on 73 for one, David Warner carrying the fight with a punchy, unbeaten 53.

Warner and Khawaja did well to hold their concentration after the day began with a botched protest from Just Stop Oil supporters.

Just one over into the innings, two men invaded the field carrying bags of orange paint dust but where bundled off the pitch with the notable assistance of England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow, who lifted one of the activists off his feet and personally delivered him to security staff on the boundary edge.

When play resumed, Khawaja offered a half-chance off James Anderson with just one to his name. Joe Root could hardly be blamed for failing to grab a low chance off the turf, but Warner should have been on his way for 20.

Stuart Broad switched to the Pavilion End for his second spell of the day and successfully clipped the edge of his old rival. Ollie Pope made a hash of a regulation catch at fourth slip, in an echo of the missed chances that cost England dear in their series-opening defeat at Edgbaston.

Warner had imposed himself in tricky conditions, bending the knee to sweep both Broad and an off-colour Ollie Robinson, with the latter struggling to find a performance to match his new pantomime villain status.

Tongue, who played his only other Test at the same ground against Ireland earlier this month, briefly looked to have a case of stage fright as he first three overs were dispatched for 24 – including a bouncer that Warner disdainfully hooked for six.

But he summoned a perfect riposte to end the morning on a high, dismissing Khawaja for 17 as he shouldered arms.

England all-rounder Rehan Ahmed has been backed to relish the big stage if selected to make his Ashes debut in next week’s second Test at Lord’s.

Leicestershire leg-spinner Ahmed has been called up to the England squad after the thrilling curtain-raiser at Edgbaston, which saw Australia win by two wickets to move 1-0 up in the series.

Teenager Ahmed, the youngest man to play Test cricket for England after his December appearance in Pakistan, was drafted into the set-up owing to concerns over Moeen Ali’s injured finger.

Moeen reversed his decision to retire from red-ball cricket to feature in the series opener – after Jack Leach was ruled out of the Ashes with a stress fracture – but a burst blister on his right index finger troubled the off-spinner in Birmingham.

The wound is being monitored by England’s medical staff ahead of Wednesday’s start and while there is optimism Moeen will be passed fit, Leicestershire’s director of cricket Claude Henderson knows the county’s talented prospect will be ready if called upon.

Henderson told the PA news agency: “Rehan is one of those characters: the bigger the game, the more he wants to stand up.

“He loves the big stage so let’s see what happens. I don’t know what the situation is like with him yet regarding the next Test but he joined them today and let’s see where that goes.

“He loves a challenge. He doesn’t play names, he plays the ball. He loves cricket and just wants to compete against the best players in the world, which is a great attitude to have.”

If Moeen does not recover in time, England could still leave Ahmed out of their XI and go with an all-seam attack at Lord’s supplemented by Joe Root’s off breaks.

Ahmed is not short of match practice though, having featured in seven of Leicestershire’s red-ball fixtures in Division Two.

Four half-centuries have followed and the 18-year-old reserved his best display for Headingley, home of the third Ashes Test, where he claimed three for 89 and smashed 85 in a memorable three-wicket win for his county.

“He has played a massive role for us in the County Championship. He came in at number seven, got good runs, got a 90 (against Glamorgan) and got a hundred at the back end of last year, so he is a really promising batter,” Henderson added.

“His bowling has shown a lot of good signs as well. April and May can be tricky in county cricket for leg spin but he stuck at it, has shown progress and is just a wonderful character to have in the changing room.

“It is important from us on Rehan’s development to keep getting him overs, which is great. We’ll keep doing that to try and create opportunities for him to develop as the final cricketer.”

Six wickets at an average of 67.66 and an economy rate of 4.01 in Division Two this season may not strike fear into the Australians, but Ahmed showed on his Test debut with five for 48 in Karachi the difficulty of picking up his leg breaks.

At the age of 11, Ahmed had bowled to future captain Ben Stokes in the nets and two years later left the late Shane Warne in awe of his wrist spin.


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England’s decision to again go bold and call up the teenager to cover Moeen over more experienced options suggests even if there is no Ashes debut at Lord’s, Ahmed could break Brian Close’s record as England’s youngest player in the men’s Ashes later this summer.

And if not, Henderson feels the all-rounder can continue to aid Leicestershire’s promotion charge.

He said: “Look, let’s see what happens. We never know with Lord’s, Lord’s can spin.

“It depends on the weather and what they want to do but he just offers so much in the changing room, with the bat and he is the whole package.

“We’ll see what England say. I know they do send back some players when they are not playing, they ask them to go back and play county cricket.

“I think it would be healthy for Rehan to keep playing cricket, not sit on the bench but there are always opportunities and it is just great for us to see him back in the mix with England.”

Australian batter Travis Head has laughed off sledging from England during and since the thrilling Ashes opener at Edgbaston – and has sent a word of warning to Ollie Robinson.

Robinson is viewed in some quarters down under as the pantomime villain following his expletive-laden send-off to Usman Khawaja, with Australian greats Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting rounding on the Sussex seamer in the wake of the tourists’ two-wicket win.

It has not deterred Robinson, who – in a column for Wisden.com this week – expressed his surprise at how “defensive” Australia were, and claimed England’s opponents must change their style to come out on top during the five-match series.

England opener Zak Crawley, meanwhile, predicted on Times Radio recently that the hosts would win the upcoming second Test at Lord’s by 150 runs.

“We’re only going for the lunch, apparently,” Head told 9News Sydney. “Yeah, they have got this mantra they’re going at.

“Not just on the field but off the field they are throwing some nice chat out, but this team is truly just worried about what we need to do to win the second Test to go 2-0 up and put some pressure on them.”

Middle-order batter Head hit 50 at Edgbaston and put on 79 for the fourth wicket with Khawaja, who faced plenty of verbals from Robinson in Birmingham.

Robinson ended Khawaja’s marathon knock and claimed five wickets during the first Test, but Head insisted the England bowler will have to improve if he wants to retain his position in Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes’ team.

Head added: “I find it pretty fun. I had a few quiet words, jovial words, to him out there.


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“It all makes for good fun and we’ll see where the next four Tests go.

“It didn’t go his way in the first one but he’s very competitive and he will want to step up. But if he doesn’t, I think they have got a few people at home that might want to get up his back.”

Head trained with his Australian team-mates at Lord’s on Sunday ahead of the second Test getting under way on Wednesday.

Fellow batters Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith were also present, having spent their Saturdays at the Home of Cricket in the nets following their low scores at Edgbaston.

Labuschagne took a painful blow to a finger on his right hand during his Saturday net session, but was fine to carry on after being checked over by team doctor Leigh Golding.

Broadcaster Mark Nicholas has likened Joe Root to rock stars such as David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen for his ability to continually reinvent himself.

Root has been England’s most dependable batter for several years but since handing over captaincy duties to Ben Stokes, the Yorkshireman has adapted his approach to be in keeping with the ultra-attacking philosophy under his successor and head coach Brendon McCullum.

His strike-rate has skyrocketed in the last 14 Tests, up to 76.35 from a career mark of 54.65 before Stokes took the reins, while Root’s output remains excellent with 1,279 runs at 67.31 in the Bazball era, again a significant improvement from a stellar career average of 50.76 in 131 Tests.

Nicholas, the former Hampshire captain who will serve as the next MCC president from October, believes relinquishing the captaincy last year played a role in unlocking Root 2.0.

Nicholas told the PA news agency: “He’s an amazing man and cricketer actually and I think the ability to keep reinventing himself as a batsman. It’s almost like rock stars do it.

“David Bowie kept reinventing himself, Bruce Springsteen to a degree. There’s a number of them. It’s amazing actually.

“It’s incredible to think that he averages more under Stokes than before Stokes and in itself that tells you that he’s freed up his mind. I think that as a captain, he felt the responsibility heavily.

“By freeing his mind up, he’s a little looser in the shoulders, (has) a looser grip on the bat and therefore everything is more ready to go in the attacking sense.”

Root has risen to the top of the Test batting rankings after swashbuckling innings of 118 not out and 46 in England’s agonising two-wicket defeat in the first LV= Insurance Ashes Test.

His second dig typified his outlook as he outlined his intent on the first ball of the penultimate day by attempting to reverse ramp Pat Cummins.

While he made no contact on that occasion, Root was undeterred and unleashed the same shot off back-to-back deliveries in Scott Boland’s next over, bringing a six then a four.

Root’s blitz came to a premature end after he charged down the pitch to Nathan Lyon and was stumped.

While Nicholas disagreed with the bullish approach, he accepts the England camp may not share the same view.

Nicholas added: “The choice of the reverse scoop first ball of the day, I think that is overdoing the bravado because if you get out, you’re going to feel you’ve let a lot of people down quite unnecessarily.

“If you’re in and you’re seeing it bigger, completely fine, but first ball of the morning against the best fast bowler in the world, there’s no obvious necessity for it.

“(Former England captain) Tony Greig once said ‘it’s a greater crime to get out for 30 or 40 than for nought’. In other words, once you’re in, don’t give it away.

“Does this England team take any reference in that sort of principle at all? Maybe not.

“I noticed when he walked past Stokes who was (the next batter in), Stokes gave him a kind of touch (on the shoulder) and said ‘brilliant mate’, not ‘you clown’.”

Zak Crawley has stressed that while England are determined to win the Ashes they are “not about results” but entertainment.

The hosts are 1-0 down with four matches to play after losing to Australia by two wickets in a dramatic climax to the first Test at Edgbaston on Tuesday.

While skipper Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum have emphasised their belief in the team’s approach, with the latter saying the side want to keep “throwing punches”, Sir Geoffrey Boycott has claimed England “have got carried away” with the style nicknamed ‘Bazball’ and “seem to think entertaining is more important than winning.”

Opener Crawley told Times Radio it had been “a great week for cricket” as he made reference to the record Sky Sports viewing and BBC listening figures the match attracted, and added: “That’s what we’re all about – we’re not about results, we always talk about that, we’re not about winning or losing, we’re about entertainment.

“Of course we’re there to win, and it helps our brand and what we’re trying to do if we win, we get more traction if we win.

“But I don’t think we’ve lost anything this week, other than a game of cricket, which is (in) a five-match series. Other than that, we’ve gained a lot of respect and support and I think it’s great for the game.”

A major talking point from the first Test was England’s decision to declare late on day one on 393 for eight.

Vice-captain Ollie Pope said of that call: “I think what we tried to do didn’t pay off at the time, only because we gave ourselves an opportunity of taking two wickets that night, then hopefully rocking up on day two and we only need eight wickets.

“That’s something we spoke about a lot and was a decision we discussed as a group. We had an opportunity to bowl them out on the last day, we had a rain-affected day and we needed to take 10 wickets in 70, 80 odd overs.

“Looking back on that moment, nothing changes, and that’s what we’re about as a team. If we didn’t declare, we might have batted too long, they might have, and we might not have even been able to give ourselves an opportunity of 10 wickets on the last day.

“So I think again, we talk about that mindset, approach – just because it’s an Ashes series and there’s a lot more people watching than there is when we play another team, we want to make the same decisions and we have made those decisions over the last year-and-a-half as a team and we’ve been on the right side of the result a few times.

“That’s the mindset we’re in at the moment. We wouldn’t change a thing about the game, obviously other than the end result.”

Both players backed England to win the second Test that gets under way at Lord’s on Wednesday, with Pope also saying that “if we did go down 2-0, we still believe we can win 3-2 this Ashes series, 100 per cent.”

Writing in the Telegraph, former England batter Boycott said: “England have got carried away with Bazball and seem to think entertaining is more important than winning.

“But England supporters want one thing more than anything else – to win the Ashes. Scoring fast runs, whacking lots of fours and sixes is lovely. It is great. But only if England do not lose sight of the big prize which is to beat Australia.

“If at the end of the series Australia go home with the Ashes we will feel sick, regardless of how much we have been entertained.

“They are in danger of letting hubris be their downfall or, quoting William Shakespeare in Hamlet, being hoist by one’s own petard. They are going to defeat themselves. It would be sad if playing exciting cricket for a year is going to their heads.

“By all means entertain but cricket is like chess. There are moments when you need to defend. Sometimes you need to be patient and accept it. Do not just attack, attack, attack. England need a bit of common sense and pragmatism.”

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