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VB pokes fun at ‘bitter’ England after coach’s comments

An iconic Australian beer has taken aim at England after the controversial Ashes stumping that led coach Brendon McCullum to say he didn’t want to share a beer with the visiting Aussies.

Australia took the lead in the 2023 Ashes series after Jonny Bairstow’s controversial run-out last Sunday.

England was left stunned when Bairstow walked out of his crease after ducking a Cameron Green ball, only for Alex Carey to underarm the ball at the wicket and have him stumped.

The move drew instant condemnation from the Lord’s crowd, with boos and chats of “same old Aussies, always cheating”, amid clams it wasn’t in the spirit of cricket.

There were ugly confrontations between Australian players and Marylebone Cricket Club members, and in the days since everyone from current and former players to the British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has weighed in.

The England players were furious, while the team’s coach, Kiwi-born McCullum, said he wouldn’t be sharing any celebratory Ashes drinks with the Aussies.

I can’t imagine we’ll be having a beer with them any time soon,” he said.

On Thursday – with the fourth Ashes Test just hours away – Victoria Bitter entered the conversation with a limited-edition run of beer “just for the English”.

England getting slabs of VB

It changed its label to “England Bitter”, and has promised to send the England team a few slabs to enjoy when they “cool down”.

“We know the English are bitter about the Lord’s Test, but when they’re feeling less bitter we’ve got a beer to shout them … our fresh new England Bitter”, VB marketing manager Marc Lord said.

“England Bitter has got their name on it and we’re sending a few slabs to the English Cricket Team to enjoy once they’ve cooled off.

“We raise our glass to the whole Australian team for securing a famous win in the second Test, and wish them the best of luck in winning the series.”

Carlton and United Breweries said it would release a rejigged version of a jingle, in light of McCullum’s comment.

“You can get it not protecting your stumps, you can get it ignoring the umps – Victoria Bitter for the English,” the new tune goes.

CUB also took out full-page ads in Australian newspapers to gee up its cheeky new product, ahead of the Headingley Test.

Aussie fans at Headingley later on Thursday will also be able to get their hands on free England Bitter T-shirts.

Meanwhile, Headingley looms as the venue of reckoning for Australia in this year’s Ashes.

A win in the third Test would secure the visitors their first Ashes series win in England in 22 years. Even a draw would mean the Australians keep hold of the trophy.

Australia will wait until the toss to confirm its team for Headingley. The match begins at 8pm (AEST).

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