Two of England’s stalwarts, Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow, were left fuming after receiving some body-shaming comments from a section of the crowd at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Day 3 of the fourth Ashes Test.
This incident occurred when Stokes and Bairstow were close to heading back in the dressing room at the end of the second session. A spectator, sitting adjacent to the dressing room, had something to say to the pair who had been battling against the Aussie bowlers to take England to 135/4 at Tea after the side had been reduced to 36/4.
As can be heard from the video that’s been doing rounds on social media, the man hurled down some rubbish remarks towards the pair.
“Stokes, you’re fat,” the spectator said. “Take your jumper off, Bairstow, lose some weight Bairstow,” the England player was told by the disgruntled man.
Ben Stokes was not someone to take these lightly and let them go. He stood there, on the stairs, staring down the culprit and mumbling something, while both Bairstow and team director Ashley Giles watched the scenario play out in front of them before both the batters walked to the change room.
Jonny Bairstow, though, fired back at the abuser. “Pal, That’s right. Just turn around and walk away. Weak as piss,” he replied.
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It was later reported that those three abusers in question were evicted from the stadium by the on-ground security.
Stokes and Bairstow put on a stunning counter-attack: the left-hander smashed 66 runs off 91 balls, while the right-hander ended the day with a century – first by an England batter on this tour – scoring 103 runs off 140 balls.
Speaking about the incident after the day’s play, Bairstow said that he had to stand up for himself when retorting the abuse. He believes that the remarks from the wrongdoers were beyond the line.
“It was just a bit of bad-mouthing from the crowd and obviously it’s not the greatest and it’s not needed. We’re out there trying to do our jobs. People are out there, enjoying the day’s cricket and unfortunately sometimes you have people overstep the mark,” Bairstow said.
“It’s important to stand up for ourselves, because if we’re not standing up for ourselves as well, then you can cop it and especially when people overstep the mark, they need to be told.”
While England have avoided the follow-on, they still trail by 158 runs with three wickets in hand. Two days are left in the game, and with rain predicted during those two days, the visitors will fancy avoiding a loss.