Same old Aussies, always winning: Albanese fires at British PM

Australian players are confronted at Lord's

Source: Twitter

The Ashes “cheating” controversy threatens to become a diplomatic incident, as Prime Minister Anthony Albanese delivered a stump-slaying spray to Rishi Sunak in the latest escalation on Tuesday.

Mr Albanese used his official Twitter account to heap praise on Australia’s men’s and women’s teams on Tuesday, after the men’s dramatic 43-run win at Lord’s gave them a 2-0 lead in the Ashes series

“I’m proud of our men’s and women’s cricket teams, who have both won their opening two Ashes matches against England,” he wrote.

“Same old Aussies – always winning! Australia is right behind Alyssa Healy, Pat Cummins and their teams and look forward to welcoming them home victorious.”

It came after Mr Sunak joined in the British pile-on accusing the Australians of breaching the spirit of cricket with the controversial stumping of Jonny Bairstow in the second Ashes Test at Lord’s.

It also came as more footage emerged from the Long Room at the prestigious Marylebone Cricket Club, reportedly showing Usman Khawaja being repeatedly singled out for abuse by some members as the Australian team was booked, sworn at and heckled on their way to lunch.

The Nine newspapers said the video, which they had been sent, show Australian players being booed and abused climbing the stairs at Lord’s to the dining room. It shows Khawaja stopping and pointing out a member to MCC stewards and the team’s security manager, Frank Dimasi.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that it was unclear from the footage exactly what was said to Pakistani-born Khawaja. The MCC, which has suspended three members, continues to investigate the ugly lunchtime incident.

“Some of the stuff that was coming out of the members’ mouths was really disappointing and I wasn’t just going to stand by and cop it,” Khawaja said afterwards.

“I just talked to a few of them, a few of them [were] throwing out some pretty big allegations and I just called them up on it and they kept going.”

Elsewhere, media in Britain and Australia have drawn clear sides in the ongoing furore. Britain’s right-wing Daily Express and Metro have run bodyline-themed “Just not cricket” headlines, while London’s Telegraph labelled Bairstow’s stumping an “underhand dismissal”.

The West Australian took aim at England captain Ben Stokes on Tuesday, showing him in a nappy, alongside a cricket ball and the headline “CRYBABIES”.

“That’s definitely not me. Since when did I bowl with the new ball,” a cheeky Stokes responded.

News Corp publications went with “Bazbawl” (Herald Sun in Melbourne) and “We’re 2 up, baby!” (The Daily Telegraph in Sydney) as the “cheating” saga showed few signs of easing.

Earlier, British PM Rishi Sunak backed Stokes and England coach Brendon McCullum after they hit out at Australia in the dramatic postscript to Sunday’s match, saying they would have withdrawn the appeal.

Mr Sunak’s office said the PM was unhappy with Australia’s behaviour.

“The Prime Minister agrees with Ben Stokes. He said he simply wouldn’t want to win a game in the manner Australia did,” a spokesman for Mr Sunak’s office said.

“He has confidence England will bounce back at Headingley.”

Asked whether Mr Sunak believed Australia’s had not upheld the spirit of cricket, the spokesman said: “Yes”.

Mr Sunak’s views are at odds with several celebrated players, with England’s former red- and white-ball captains Andrew Strauss and Eoin Morgan among those defending the tourists.

India star Ravichandran Ashwin – who has been involved in controversial “mankad” dismissals of his own – also backed Australia’s actions.

“The keeper would never have a dip at the stumps from that far out in a Test match unless he or his team have noticed a pattern of the batter leaving his crease after leaving a ball like Bairstow did,” Ashwin posted on social media.

“We must applaud the game smarts of the individual rather than skewing it towards unfair play or spirit of the game.”

Former Test cricketer Sir Geoffrey Boycott used his column in The Telegraph to call for Australia to apologise on Monday.

“Australia need to have a think about what they did and make a full public apology,” Boycott wrote.

“If you want to win at all costs then cricket should not be for you. We want people to play hard and fair but surely there are standards to uphold?”

Meanwhile, Australia’s men are bracing for more harsh treatment from crowds at Headingley when the third Test begins on Friday.

-with AAP

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