Ashes spat explodes over ‘cheap shots’
Cricket icon Shane Warne has become embroiled in a war of words after slamming former England star Matt Prior for mocking Nathan Lyon in the aftermath of the stunning third Ashes Test at Headingley.
Ben Stokes' incredible 135 not out led England to a miraculous one-wicket win and that innings - as well as the final hour of the Test - are being hailed as some of the greatest moments in cricket history.
Off-spinner Lyon had a chance to win the game for Australia when a mix-up saw England No. 11 Jack Leach start running frantically for a single only to be sent back by Stokes. Leach was stranded and Pat Cummins threw the ball back to Lyon at the bowler's end but Lyon fumbled it, butchering a golden chance to seal what would have been a one-run victory.
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Later that over Lyon had an LBW shout off Stokes turned down and Australia couldn't challenge the call because it had no reviews left. Had they been able to use the technology the tourists would have won because Hawkeye showed the ball was going on to hit the stumps.
Prior took a sly dig at Lyon on Twitter after the match but Warne responded angrily, calling the England great out for his "stupid comments".
Excuse me? Just because Lyon knocked you over for fun, there’s still no need for that kind of silly and immature behaviour. Grow up, and enough of those stupid comments. Let’s celebrate the wonderful game of test cricket & the Ashes please ! https://t.co/lxaLjISJzY— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) August 26, 2019
Warne also took aim at former England cricketer Chris Adams, who played five Tests and five one-day internationals, when he replied to a tweet from Prior agreeing Aussies are happy to dish out trash talk but can't take it.
The Spin King blew up about Prior and Adams taking "cheap shots" when they should instead be celebrating what was an unbelievable game of cricket, but the ex-England gloveman stood his ground, accusing the Aussies of having "short memories".
Chris, you were nothing but a club cricketer ! So don’t even bore us with your dribble as no one is interested or cares in what you have to say ! Pipe down..... https://t.co/eVKUeGqcuu— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) August 26, 2019
Now it’s silly, immature and childish? Jeez you guys have short memories! I don’t think you can pick and choose when to hide behind “it’s just banter” and then decide it’s now childish and immature. Anyway as you say moving on...— Matt Prior (@MattPrior13) August 26, 2019
England fast bowler Stuart Broad also weighed in, referencing the abuse he copped from Australians when he didn't walk after nicking a ball in the 2013 Ashes - a moment that prompted then-Aussie coach Darren Lehmann to call on home fans to make the seamer "cry" in the return series Down Under.
"My stick was pretty tasty, called upon by Australians, for not walking, when I can't think of many genuine walking Aussies? 22 players in back to back Ashes series nicked it & didn't walk," Broad wrote on Twitter.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan was on Warne's side, saying there was "no need" to kick Lyon while he's down, but Prior backed up Daily Mail cricket writer Paul Newman when he joined the conversation.
"This is so funny. So what Lyon did to Prior and Lehmann did to Broad were in the spirit of the Ashes? Hilarious ... Lyon deserves everything coming to him," Newman tweeted.
From someone who was actually there and knows the facts 👍🏼 https://t.co/xcySCr7ofX— Matt Prior (@MattPrior13) August 26, 2019
ORIGINS OF BAD BLOOD
Lyon was devastated after Australia lost the third Test in dramatic fashion, needing to be helped off the ground by captain Tim Paine.
But Prior clearly had no sympathy for the Aussie tweaker, with the hashtag "#mothercricket" a reference to the game coming back to bite you.
The bad blood dates back to 2017 when, reflecting on the 5-0 Ashes whitewash in 2013/14 in which an out-of-sorts Prior was dropped for the final two Tests, Lyon had claimed the English keeper was "scared", especially when it came to facing a red-hot Mitchell Johnson.
"Seeing Mitchell Johnson scare all the Poms was unbelievable. You could sense the fear," Lyon said. "It was an unbelievable feeling knowing that they were broken.
"Leading into (the third Test in) Perth … we knew Matt Prior wanted to fly home before the game started and he was one of the senior players. He was scared. It's four years ago. I think he's all right now."
Prior didn't take those remarks well, lashing out at Lyon's "BS" comments on Twitter.
"To be clear I may have been playing badly fair enough but there was no way I was getting on a plane home. You've embarrassed yourself @NathLyon421 & this game has a funny way of biting back," Prior said at the time.
PAINE: AUSSIES MUST BOUNCE BACK
Prior may be happy to mock Lyon but Australia knows it needs its premier spinner to bounce back quickly to retain the Ashes with two Tests left in the series, which is tied at 1-1.
The Aussies will enjoy a 10-day break between the third and fourth Tests and Paine said his side can't dwell for too long on what went wrong in Leeds or else winning in Manchester will become even more difficult.
"It was just about getting Gazza up," Paine said when asked how he consoled Lyon after his nightmare finish to the match.
"He's a really important player in our side and I said to him that if our players see him dealing with it really quickly and moving on then our younger players are going to do the same thing and we turn up to Manchester or our next training session in a much better frame of mind, rather than have guys sulking or whatever you want to call it.
"It hurts, deal with it, move on.
"Gazza is obviously extremely disappointed, but no one's perfect, people make mistakes and that happens. The important thing is that when it happens you cop it on the chin, you hold your head up and you stick together as a team and you walk off together.
"We've got two more Test matches, we've been doing a lot right, instead of being caught up in the emotion of it we need to be able to deal with it."