Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese has hit back at Rishi Sunak’s criticism of the tourists’ sportsmanship in the current men’s Ashes series in England.
A row over the controversial stumping of England wicketkeeper-batter Johnny Bairstow in the second Test has rumbled on ahead of the third match, which starts on Thursday.
British PM Sunak waded into the debate on Monday when his spokesperson said he backed England captain Ben Stokes, adding he “simply wouldn’t want to win a game in the manner Australia did”.
Albanese sympathised with Sunak’s view but said “he must not have had the same lessons I got in primary school: stay in your crease.”
The Australian premier added on Twitter: “I’m proud of our men’s and women’s cricket teams, who have both won their opening two #Ashes matches against England.”
Riffing on England fans’ chants of “Same old Aussies, always cheating” at Lord’s, Albanese wrote: “Same old Aussies – always winning!”.
Addressing Australia’s women’s and men’s captains Alyssa Healy and Pat Cummins, he concluded: “Australia is right behind @ahealy77, @patcummins30 and their teams and look forward to welcoming them home victorious.”
Australia lead the women’s Ashes 6-0 after beating England in the solitary Test match and the opening Twenty20 international.
The tourists’ men are 2-0 up in their series, meaning they only need a draw from the remaining three Test matches to hold onto the urn.
Debate over the Bairstow stumping has increased the animosity in the men’s series ahead of this week’s potentially decisive third Test at Headingley.