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Aussies will play in spirit of game

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AUSTRALIA captain Michael Clarke has insisted his side “won’t overstep the mark” when it comes to sledging during the Ashes series.

England and New Zealand have just completed an enthrallin­g Test and one-day internatio­nal campaign where both sides have shown it is possible to play bold and aggressive cricket without resorting to sledging.

New Zealand, which has long given up on sledging, has been widely praised in particular for the way its conducted itself under the captaincy of Brendon McCullum.

However, there are fears that things could get out of hand when the latest edition of internatio­nal cricket’s oldest rivalry starts with the first Test between England and Australia in Cardiff from July 8.

During Australia’s 5-0 home Ashes triumph in 2013/14, there were several unsavoury incidents, notably when Clarke told England tailender James Anderson to “get ready for a broken f...... arm” during the first Test in Brisbane.

Clarke, in his first formal press conference of Australia’s tour, was adamant the verbals would remain within bounds.

“I’m confident the series will be played in the right spirit,” Clarke said yesterday.

“Both teams will play hard. I know I probably say this every series, but we respect there’s a line you can’t cross. Both teams might ‘ headbutt’ that line, but I’m confident we won’t overstep the mark.”

Clarke added that Australia had no plans to abandon its usual style in the field.

“I think it’s a big part of the Australian way, but I think you also need to keep in mind there’s a line and not overstep that,” he said.

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