The Ashes series is highly competitive, with both teams vying for supremacy. The desire to win and the pressure to perform can sometimes result in players crossing the line of acceptable behavior. Instances of sledging (verbal abuse), aggressive on-field confrontations, and unsporting conduct have occurred in the heat of the battle.
The series also attracts significant media attention, both in England and Australia and often around the world. The intense media coverage can amplify controversies and put added pressure on players and officials. Media scrutiny can also sensationalize incidents, leading to controversies gaining more attention than they might otherwise deserve.The top bookmakers have Test match odds with them.
The Ashes series carries immense national pride for England and Australia. The passion and intensity that come with representing one's country can sometimes spill over into controversies. The top bookmakers have Ashes odds on their platforms.
We have compiled a list of five incidents that took place in the Ashes in the last decade.
The Ben Stokes ‘obstructing the field' incident (2015)
The incident involving Ben Stokes and the “obstructing the field” rule occurred during the second One Day International (ODI) between England and Australia in September 2015 at Lord's Cricket Ground in London.
In the 26th over of England's innings, Ben Stokes, the England batsman, played a shot toward the bowler, Mitchell Starc. The ball was heading towards the stumps, and as Stokes attempted to avoid being hit, he put out his hand and stopped the ball with his left hand.
The Australian players appealed for obstructing the field, claiming that Stokes had intentionally blocked the ball to prevent it from hitting the stumps. After a discussion among the umpires, Stokes was given out under Law 37 (Obstructing the field).
The incident reignited discussions around the interpretation of the obstructing the field rule, particularly regarding unintentional actions and the level of intent required for a batsman to be given out.
Stuart Broad's controversial non-dismissal (2013)
This incident occurred during the Ashes Test match between England and Australia at Trent Bridge in July 2013. On the third day of the match, England was batting in their second innings, and Stuart Broad was at the crease. Broad edged a delivery from Ashton Agar, and it carried to Haddin, who caught it cleanly.
However, the on-field umpire, Aleem Dar from Pakistan, did not give Broad out despite the clear edge. Even Broad knew that the ball had edged but didn't try to leave the field. Australia was stunned by the incident, and it was seen as a violation of the spirit of the game.
Bairstow-Bancroft ‘headbutt' incident
The Bairstow-Bancroft “headbutt” incident refers to an altercation that took place between England's Jonny Bairstow and Australia's Cameron Bancroft during an Ashes tour in 2017. The incident came to light after the conclusion of the first Test match of the Ashes series in Brisbane.
It was revealed that during a night out after a practice session, Bairstow had made contact with Bancroft's head with a playful headbutt. The incident occurred at a bar and was initially described as a light-hearted moment between the players.
Time-wasting tactics of Strauss
During the Ashes 2009, Jimmy Anderson and Monty Panesar were the last batters to stay on the crease. England's squad was accused of deliberately wasting time during the game to ensure that the match ended in a draw by Australian skipper Ricky Ponting.
Ponting stated that English skipper Andrew Strauss sent the 12th man Bilal Shafayat twice into the field with physio Steve McCaig without any particular reason.
David Warner & Joe Root Fight
David Warner punched England, captain Joe Root, in a bar during the 2013 Ashes series. This led to Warner being suspended from the rest of the series, and it also damaged relations between the two teams.
The Australian batter was criticized by pundits and cricketers across the globe for his actions.