LONDON • Australia captain Steven Smith had no qualms about his part in the controversial dismissal of England's Ben Stokes for obstructing the field in the second one-day international at Lord's on Saturday.
World Cup holders Australia won by 64 runs to go 2-0 up in the five-match cricket series. But the result was overshadowed by the exit of Stokes during England's unsuccessful run chase.
In the 26th over, Stokes struck a straight drive which was stopped by bowler Mitchell Starc. Paceman Starc then hurled the ball back towards Stokes who, leaning back and turning his head away, stopped it with a hand taken off the bat.
Australia appealed, believing Stokes had prevented a possible direct hit run out on his own stumps, and on-field umpires - Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka and Tim Robinson of England - referred the issue to third umpire Joel Wilson.
The relevant cricket rule talks about "wilful obstruction" and does allow batsmen to protect themselves from injury. West Indian official Wilson gave Stokes out for 10, sparking the unusual sound of a chorus of boos at Lord's.
Smith could have withdrawn the appeal. But he saw no reason why he should and said the close-at-hand view of wicket-keeper Matthew Wade strengthened him in his original decision.
"Wadey had a good view of it from behind the stumps, and he said straightaway that he thought the ball was missing Stokes and was going to go on and hit the stumps," said Smith. "The way I saw it, he was out of his ground, and he wilfully put his hand out. The ball was going towards the stumps, and wasn't even going to hit him."
England captain Eoin Morgan had his own eyewitness view of events as he was the non-striker when Stokes was given out.
"The guy throws the ball in your direction from five yards, and all you can do is flinch," he told Sky Sports. "His reaction wasn't deliberate."