Ben Stokes plays down lack of post-series drinks with Australia players at Oval

England captain Ben Stokes moved to squash any controversy about a lack of post-series drinks with Australia after an apparent misunderstanding over the traditional get together.

The rivals usually mark the end of the on-field hostilities by joining each other in the dressing rooms to socialise and debrief, but that did not happen at the Kia Oval on Monday.

Initial reports from travelling Australian media suggested the tourists were left disappointed as they waited to be invited in following England’s series-levelling 49-run win and even knocked on the England changing room before departing around an hour later.

England’s Test coach Brendon McCullum had cast doubt on the longstanding convention earlier in the summer, declaring “I can’t imagine we’ll be having a beer with them any time soon” in the aftermath of Jonny Bairstow’s controversial stumping by Alex Carey in the second Test at Lord’s.

But the PA news agency understands the home side were simply running late, with their own internal wrap up going on longer than usual due to an extended presentation session that marked the retirements of Stuart Broad and Moeen Ali.

England, who were still at the ground at 11pm, were said to be surprised that the Australian team had left the ground.

Stokes had his own say on the matter in a tweet posted at 4.11am, responding to journalist Bharat Sundaresan who had been reporting on the missed drinks.

England v Australia – LV= Insurance Ashes Series 2023 – Fifth Test – Day Five – The Kia Oval
England captain Ben Stokes and Australia captain Pat Cummins with the shared trophy after drawing the LV= Insurance Ashes Series 2-2 (Mike Egerton/PA Images).

Stokes, who had distanced himself from McCullum’s comments previously and stated he was happy to honour the tradition, wrote: “To clarify…Our wrap took longer than expected because of multiple last time events. We decided to meet up in the night club rather than the dressing room.”

Cricket Australia were unable to clarify which of their players made it to the club with Stokes, but Fox Sports quoted an unnamed source saying: “We don’t really care, we’ve got the urn, but after a hard-fought series it is pretty pathetic. Talk about the spirit of cricket.”