Bailey sticks up for skipper after controversial dismissal
ENGLAND captain Eoin Morgan has walked a dangerous line by bitterly accusing Steve Smith of lacking integrity in the explosive second onedayer at Lord’s.
Former Australian skipper George Bailey came out in defence of Smith, calling on Morgan to put his money where his mouth is next time there is a contentious dismissal and prove he’s not a hypocrite.
The controversial decision by third umpire Joel Wilson to give England allrounder Ben Stokes out for obstructing the field has split opinion, but Morgan’s move to pin blame on Smith has not gone down well in the Australian dressingroom.
There will be no love lost in the remaining three matches of the series continuing in Manchester tomorrow night.
In extraordinary scenes at Lord’s, the usually refined patrons of the members pavilion rained abuse down on Smith, Mitchell Starc and the Australians as they left the field, labelling them “cheats”.
New Zealand official Wilson was of the opinion that Stokes had “wilfully” blocked Starc’s throw from hitting the stumps and that the ball was too far away from the England star’s body for him to claim he was protecting himself from injury as he scrambled to get back into his crease.
Morgan’s animated questioning of on-field umpires Kumar Dharmasena and Tim Robinson bordered on dissent and his remonstrating with Smith about sportsmanship – which he opted to go on with in post-match interviews – opened up a can of worms on whether the England skipper is as righteous as he thinks he is.
“It’s a big call for Eoin to say that,” Bailey said.
“I assume if that’s how he feels then any time a batter nicks one on to his pads and gets given out lbw, or gets wrongfully given out caught behind, he’ll call them back as well.”
There is lingering resentment from both sides heading into tomorrow night’s match at Old Trafford, in which Australia at 2-0 up can clinch the series.
Meanwhile, David Warner is in extreme doubt for next month’s Test tour of Bangladesh after scans confirmed he fractured his left thumb while batting during the win.
Warner will be sidelined for four to six weeks.