It seems that England is finding it very difficult to scalp the wicket of Steve Smith as he produced yet another dependable knock of 80 in Australia’s first innings of the fifth and final Test at the Oval. It was his lowest total of a sensational Ashes series.
Smith now has scored as many as 751 runs, which is almost one-third of the runs the team has combinedly score over the entire series even though he has missed three of the nine innings after being hit by a Jofra Archer bouncer. England seems to have tried it all in order to get rid of the Australian early but to no avail.
On Friday, Jonny Bairstow gave Smith a mighty scare when the Australian was scampering for a run. Bairstow positioned himself as if he was about to collect the ball, resulting in Smith attempting a full-length dive to get back into the crease. However, the ball was nowhere near the English keeper and the former Australian skipper admitted later that he had been done in by Bairstow.
— Ollie Green (@OllieGreen_) September 13, 2019
At the end of the second day’s play, Smith was asked about the incident during the post-day press conference. He said, “He got me there, didn’t he? Dirtied my clothes. He didn’t say anything, I don’t think but he got me. I didn’t know where the ball was. Bloody thing. Faked it. He got me. I don’t know what else to say.”
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) September 13, 2019
Australian cricketer Andrew Tye, as well as some fans, were quick to point out that England should have been penalized as per the new laws against mock fielding. Here are some of the reactions:
Is that not fake fielding? #Ashes
— Andrew Tye (@aj191) September 13, 2019
5 penalty runs for fake fielding pretty simple really 🤷♂️
— Martin Garoni (@MartinGaroni) September 14, 2019
where’s our five-run penalty for fake fielding? #Ashes
— Luke Byrnes (@lukee_byrnes) September 13, 2019
Is that not fake fielding? As much as I hate the rule, isn't that why it's there?
— Daniel Beswick (@DGBeswick1) September 13, 2019
— Rick Eyre on cricket (@rickeyrecricket) September 14, 2019
Why wasn’t Bairstow penalised for fake fielding? #Ashes19
— Paul McGavin (@TutorMcGavin) September 13, 2019
Jonny Bairstow with the fake fielding there but only the Aussies cheat.
— Lee (@leehemmings91) September 13, 2019
According to the MCC’s new Law 41.5: “it is unfair for any fielder wilfully to attempt, by word or action, to distract, deceive or obstruct either batsman after the striker has received the ball.” However, 41.5.2 suggests, “It is for either one of the umpires to decide whether any distraction, deception or obstruction is wilful or not.”
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The umpires have the discretion to award five penalty runs if they determine that such deception is wilful.