Stunned Stokes slams 'embarassing' decision

Jason Roy joins teammate in rare dismissal club but resting allrounder wasn't happy with the call


Fiery allrounder Ben Stokes hasn't hidden his displeasure at the dismissal of teammate Jason Roy in the second T20 International against South Africa as England captain Eoin Morgan refused to blame their defeat on the unusual incident.

Roy returned to form at Taunton with a sparkling 45-ball 67 before he became just the ninth batsman in history to be given out obstructing the field in an international match.

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Stokes, who before Friday was the most recent victim of an obstructing the field dismissal in international cricket, took to social media after the match to question the decision. 

Stokes is being rested for the T20 leg of the Proteas' tour as he tunes up for the ensuing four-Test series, which begins on July 6.

In a one-day international against Australia at Lord's in 2015, Stokes became the eighth player to be given out in such fashion after blocking a throw from Mitchell Starc. The decision caused a stir at the Home of Cricket, with Morgan disagreeing with the call while opposing skipper Steve Smith defended it.

Stokes out obstructing the field

Roy's knock at Taunton came to an end when his partner Liam Livingstone struck one towards point but called no, leaving Roy scrambling to make his ground.

Roy stops mid-pitch after Livingstone's call of no // Sky
Roy stops mid-pitch after Livingstone's call of no // Sky

As point fielder Andile Phehlukwayo gathered and threw at the non-striker's end stumps, Roy, who'd been backing up on the right side of the pitch, deviated to the other side of the Taunton track in a bid to make his ground as the ball struck him on the heel. 

Had the throw hit the stumps, Roy would likely have been caught short, prompting South Africa's fielders to immediately throw their arms up in appeal.

Roy, now on the other side of the pitch, gets between the throw and the stumps // Sky
Roy, now on the other side of the pitch, gets between the throw and the stumps // Sky

"He's gone across to the other side of the pitch and that'll be something the umpires take into consideration," former Test allrounder David Lloyd explained on commentary.

Ex-England captain Michael Atherton said in response: "Whether you can say he got himself deliberately between the ball and the stumps, I'm not sure."

Third umpire Tim Robinson deemed Roy's deviation was indeed intentional, in line with Law 37 of the MCC's Laws of Cricket which state a batsman is out if "he wilfully attempts to obstruct or distract the fielding side by word or action."

After the match, which the Proteas won by three runs thanks to a clutch final over from Phehlukwayo, Morgan said he understood how Robinson arrived at the verdict.

"It was not massively controversial. I thought it was a 50-50 call," Morgan told reporters.

"You could see why he gave it out. It did not cost us the game, we still had enough firepower to win it. 

"But we didn't deserve to. We could not capitalise on the start by Jason (Roy) and Jonny (Bairstow)"

Another former England captain, and director of cricket at Roy's county side Surrey, Alec Stewart suggested the footage wasn't clear cut.

South Africa captain AB de Villiers defended the decision but sympathised with Roy.

"We were in the right to ask the question of the umpires," de Villiers said post-match. 

"It's not an easy decision and it's never nice to get out like that."