The Sydney Test has been marred by crowd abuse for the second year in a row, with England stars Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow reacting angrily after being sledged on Friday.
Videos sent to The Age and the Herald by a witness show the pair being vilified for their body shape by at least one fan as they headed up the steps to the dressing room in the Members Pavilion.
While most fans were showing their appreciation for the duo’s effort to bat through the second session, at least one punter in the neighbouring Noble Stand could be heard taunting Stokes then Bairstow.
“Stokes, you’re fat,” a fan said.
“Take your jumper off, Bairstow, lose some weight Bairstow,” the England player was told.
Stokes did not react to the abuse directed at him but stopped at the top of the stairs after the remarks made to his teammate. A fuming Bairstow then returned fire at his abuser.
“Pal,” Bairstow said. “That’s right. Just turn around and walk away. Weak as piss.”
Team director Ashley Giles did not intervene during the exchange but gave Bairstow a supportive pat as the player entered the change room.
Stokes was dismissed shortly after tea for 66, his top score of the series despite being in clear discomfort due to a side strain which is likely to rule him out of bowling duties for the rest of the game and has his participation in the fifth Test in doubt.
Witnesses praised Stokes and Bairstow for the way they dealt with the matter.
“It was well handled by Jonny and Stokesy, good on them,” Xander said. “He’s batted well, just give them a break. They handled it fine. They [the spectators] were being dickheads.”
Another witness, Will, said: “He handled it well, stood his ground, showed a bit of fight. He’s representing his country and doing the best he can.”
This masthead saw police address several men shortly after the incident. Three men obeyed directions to leave the stadium, the SCG Trust said, with no charges laid.
It comes 12 months after India seamer Mohammed Siraj alleged he had been racially abused by spectators seated behind where he was fielding.
A Cricket Australia report believed Siraj and his teammates had been racially abused but cleared the six men ejected.
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