Bairstow was stumped by Cameron Green’s bowling of the last ball of the 52nd at-bat during England’s second inning pursuit of 371 points.
The sequence of events surrounding the one-ball was as follows. After Bairstow dodged Green’s bouncer, he left the box without landing the bat, believing the ball was dead and the reception was complete.
But no sooner had he reached midfield to face Ben Stokes than he heard the Aussies celebrating. Shocked, he turned around and saw that the bails were broken. Vigilant Australian wicket-keeper Alex Carey scooped up the ball at the stump, and Bairstow was out of bounds. The on-field umpires handed the decision to TV man Mara Erasmus, who gave him an out.
Applause and taunts greeted the decision as Bairstow walked back to the locker room, shaking his head in bewilderment. The dismissal was by the rules, as the ball is considered dead when the umpire on the bowler’s side becomes clear that the fielder and both batters at the wicket have ceased to consider it to be in play.
But the question of whether this is consistent with the spirit of the game has divided the cricket world. England captain Ben Stokes said he would really think about the spirit of the game before appealing. If I had been on the other foot, I would have put more pressure on the umpires and asked if they were appealing and thought deeply about the spirit of the game and whether I wanted to appeal.