Stewart: Smith will regret Stokes decision


Former England captain Alec Stewart feels Australia skipper Steve Smith will come to regret his decision to send Ben Stokes packing in the second ODI, and that he should have retracted the appeal.

Stokes was given out for obstructing the field when he put his hand in the way of a shy at the stumps. Australia's players felt it was deliberate, and so did the umpires, and gave him out.

England's contingent feel he was taking evasive action, and that the laws of the game say it had to be a deliberate attempt to block the ball. Stewart feels it was unfair of Smith to insist Stokes be out.

Stewart said on the BBC: "In the heat of the battle I understand why Steve Smith made that decision.

"I think in hindsight, probably, maybe this morning, he will reflect on it that it was the wrong decision (and) he should have actually retracted that appeal."

He added of his reaction during the match: "At the time I'm just thinking, 'Ben Stokes is taking evasive action – no way is that out'.

"I'd have to question the third umpire: what on Earth was he thinking? Why didn't he watch the replays in full speed as against just in slow motion? I think when you slow everything down it gives almost a false picture.

"It was just bad. When the ball is thrown at you at 80 miles per hour from eight or so metres away you're going to take evasive action, you're going to put your hand up whether you've got a helmet on or not to protect yourself.

"And even though the pictures are showing his hand was outside the line of his head, to me that is still taking evasive action and therefore it should not have been out.

"You can see from Ben Stokes' reaction he wasn't even looking at the ball."