Eng­land get fired up at per­ceived Aus­tralian ridicule af­ter de­feat

Weekend Herald - - Cricket - Nick Hoult in Ade­laide Tele­graph Me­dia Group

Joe Root has set the tone for what is ex­pected to be one of the most frac­tious Ashes tests of re­cent years by telling his play­ers to use the im­age of Steve Smith and Aus­tralia laugh­ing at Eng­land over the Jonny Bairstow ‘ butt’ as mo­ti­va­tion go­ing into to­day’s sec­ond test.

The tourists are up­set with how their hosts be­haved in Bris­bane, and ten­sions are ris­ing ahead of a test Eng­land can­not af­ford to lose as:

● Eng­land are an­gry at how Aus­tralia ‘ played’ the in­ci­dent be­tween Bairstow and Cameron Ban­croft.

● They are un­der­stood to be par­tic­u­larly up­set at the na­ture of other, more per­sonal in­sults aimed at Bairstow that went be­yond the con­fronta­tion with Ban­croft.

● Jimmy Anderson used his col­umn in The Tele­graph to la­bel Aus­tralia “bul­lies” while claim­ing they de­lib­er­ately spoke close to the stump mic so al­le­ga­tions against Bairstow would be picked up by the me­dia.

● Aus­tralian bats­man Peter Hand­scomb con­firmed there would be no let- up in the hosts’ on- field ver­bals.

● Smith turned the spot­light on Root by telling the Eng­land cap­tain he has a tech­ni­cal flaw in his bat­ting he can­not solve in this se­ries which means he is prone to get­ting out lbw.

Eng­land are de­ter­mined there will be no re­peat of their hu­mil­i­a­tion in Bris­bane, where the im­age of Smith laugh­ing up­roar­i­ously in his post­match press con­fer­ence while Ban­croft ex­plained his “weird” en­counter with Bairstow en­cap­su­lated Aus­tralia ridi­cul­ing the tourists af­ter their 10- wicket win.

The in­ci­dent led to Andrew Strauss en­forc­ing a mid­night cur­few, and the feel­ing of be­ing treated like school­boys has added to Eng­land’s sense of in­jus­tice to­wards their op­po­nents.

And, as Root pre­pares to pick up his team for a game where Eng­land be­lieve con­di­tions will suit their pace bowlers, he i s adamant Smith has given him all the am­mu­ni­tion he needs.

“Well, if that’s not mo­ti­va­tion to the play­ers, I don’t know what is,” said Root in ref­er­ence to Smith’s press con­fer­ence with Ban­croft.

“At the end of the game, you are ob­vi­ously very dis­ap­pointed, but to see a re­ac­tion like that in a press con­fer­ence is . . . I mean if that can’t get you up for the next game, then I don’t know what can. Hope­fully that will work mas­sively in our favour.

“I know it’s an Ashes se­ries, there is a lot on the line and nat­u­rally you are go­ing to be mo­ti­vated for ev­ery game, but know­ing the char­ac­ters in our dress­ing room, that will re­ally give them a bit of some­thing else to make sure we put things right this week.”

There will be no let- up from Aus­tralia be­cause they know the tac­tics are work­ing.

Bairstow was goaded into play­ing a poor shot in the sec­ond in­nings and a lower or­der col­lapse en­sued, with Hand­scomb say­ing his side will not tone down their be­hav­iour.

“It’s some­thing that’s part of the game — al­ways has been, al­ways will be,” said Hand­scomb.

“So if there’s a mo­ment where we can ex­ploit some­one’s men­tal ca­pa­bil­i­ties, then, yeah, we’re go­ing to go about it. There are mo­ments you pick and choose the right words. We can try and look for some new ammo, we can try and use it.”

Hand­scomb played with Bairstow and Root at York­shire last sum­mer but all friend­ships have been set aside for the Ashes. Dar­ren Lehmann, the Aus­tralia coach, has strong York­shire con­nec­tions, too, and his fin­ger­prints are all over the tar­get­ing of Bairstow.

“I’m not try­ing to make him [ Bairstow] feel good about him­self — that’s not my job,” said Hand­scomb. “When I played with him at York­shire, we had a great time to­gether and I re­ally like Jonny, we got along re­ally, re­ally well. But it’s a dif­fer­ent ball game now. If I ever go back to York­shire, I dare say we’ll hang out and have a good time and it’ll be per­fectly fine. But dur­ing the Ashes, mate, it’s about win­ning the game for Aus­tralia first and fore­most.”

Hand­scomb said there was a limit to Aus­tralia’s sledg­ing.

“There is a line, we just have to make sure we don’t cross it.” Root was not buy­ing that.

“I think their line and our line are slightly dif­fer­ent things — let’s leave it at that,” said the Eng­land cap­tain.

“I think it’s some­thing you ex­pect when you come here now. You look at Faf- gate last year,” he said re­fer­ring to when Faf du Plessis, the South Africa cap­tain, was ac­cused of ball tam­per­ing in Aus­tralia.

“There were com­ments last time we were here as well, with Trotty [ Jonathan Trott] and other play­ers.

“It’s part of tour­ing Aus­tralia now, I think. It’s a strat­egy they use on oc­ca­sions and we’ve got to move for­ward as a team. We all knew it was blown widely out of pro­por­tion.”

While Eng­land are cer­tain to be in a storm at the Ade­laide Oval, Root is con­fi­dent his team can deal with any­thing Aus­tralia throw at them af­ter stat­ing the Bairstow in­ci­dent has brought the squad to­gether.

“I think it is re­ally im­por­tant that we look af­ter each other. I think that has been a big strength of ours and a big fo­cus of ours, since and be­fore I took over.

“It’s been great to see lads do­ing ev­ery­thing they can to make sure Jonny i s okay and make sure as a group we’re all okay as well,” he said.

To see a re­ac­tion like that in a press con­fer­ence is . . . I mean if that can’t get you up for the next game, then I don’t know what can. Hope­fully that will work mas­sively in our favour. Joe Root on Steve Smith’s press con­fer­ence re­ac­tion

Pic­ture / AAP

English skip­per Joe Root has been riled by Steve Smith.

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