George Bailey comes out to defend Steven Smith
After facing six balls in his innings, Stokes dabbed one back to the bowler but was out of his crease, prompting Mitchell Starc to attempt a run out.
Stokes’ effort at protecting himself from the throw did not fructify, as his outstretched hand came in the way of the ball, leading the Australians to appeal for obstruction of the field.
After having a discussion, the on-field umpires pressed for the services of the third umpire, who ruled the decision in favour of Australia, much to the disappointment of England.
In the post-match presentation, England captain, Eoin Morgan, expressed his disappointment at the decision while asserting that Stokes was only trying to get out of harm’s way.
Bailey countered Morgan by clarifying that Australia only made the appeal as they were sure about the ball hitting the stumps had it not been obstructed.
“He’s (Morgan) obviously very emotional about it still - and that’s fine, he was out there - but we think the ball was going to hit the stumps.
“He (Stokes) was out of his crease and he put his hand up when the ball wasn’t going to hit him anyway.
“I think if the ball was going to go four meters wide (of the stumps), I don’t think we would’ve appealed.
“It was the fact we thought the ball was going to hit the stumps.
“And if he didn’t put his hand up we’d have known if the ball was going to hit the stumps.”
After Stokes was dismissed, England lost a few more quick wickets and were unable to recover, ultimately going on to lose the second ODI by 64 runs.
Though Morgan did not lay the blame for the defeat on the controversial incident, he suggested that it would have been a different outcome had he been the captain of the fielding side.
Disagreeing with Morgan’s viewpoint, Bailey said: “It’s a big call for Eoin to say that (he would have withdrawn the appeal).
“I assume if that’s how he feels then any time a batter nicks one onto his pad and gets given out lbw, or gets wrongfully given out caught behind, he’ll call them back as well.
“That’s his prerogative as captain.”
Former England captains Michael Vaughan and Alec Stewart also criticized the decision as they felt that Stokes had no time to react with the throw coming in from close quarters.
However, Bailey is confident that the umpires made the right call while praising Smith for the way he conducted himself amidst the controversy.
“I think the correct decision was made.
“I don’t think the ball was going to hit him (Stokes).
“I think the ball was going to hit the stumps, and he was out of his crease.
“I don’t think there was any need for him to put his hand up to defend himself.
“I think the noise from the crowd helps us. In terms of the decision itself, I thought ‘Smudger’ (Smith) worked through it really logically.”
Having taken a 2-0 lead in the five-match ODI series, Australia are on the verge of taking an unassailable lead by winning the third game, which will be played in Manchester on the 8th of September.
© Cricket World 2015