Whatever else comes of the Jonny Bairstow headbutt controversy, the Australians are satisfied with at least one thing: they believe it helped them win the Gabba Test.
It was nearly a month ago that Cameron Bancroft was out with his Western Australia team-mates celebrating a Sheffield Shield win over Tasmania in Perth and found himself at the same venue as the England players, who had just arrived in the city for their first tour game. Bancroft on Monday described the greeting Bairstow had given him that evening as a "headbutt" and a "really weird" moment, though one that he felt lacked malicious intent.
But that didn't stop the Australians bringing the incident up while Bairstow was at the crease on the fourth day in Brisbane, where Bancroft was making his Test debut. Stump microphones picked up an Australian player referencing the headbutt while Bairstow was at the crease trying to push England towards a total that would set Australia a challenging chase. Bairstow's dismissal, caught ramping a shot to third man for 42, was a key moment.
"I think it was basically about trying to get Jonny off his game, to be honest with you," Australia's captain Steven Smith said after his team completed a 10-wicket win on the fifth day. "And I think it worked, with the way he got out. He got caught at third man playing a pretty ordinary stroke, to be fair. We were just trying to get in his head and it happened to work."
Bairstow was Test cricket's second-leading run scorer in 2016, with 1470 at 58.80; only his captain Joe Root scored more runs in the calendar year. And although England have confirmed that no disciplinary action would be taken against Bairstow - "a mountain has been made out of a mole-hill," Root said - the story has the potential to distract focus away from the cricket in the England camp at a time when they are 0-1 down in the series.
On the 2013 Ashes tour of England, David Warner was suspended for two matches by Cricket Australia for an altercation with Root in a pub. Australia's then-coach Mickey Arthur said at the time that the Australians needed to be smarter - words that were echoed on Monday by England's coach Trevor Bayliss at the Gabba - and Arthur found himself sacked as coach before the series had even begun.
"That's part and parcel of touring England," Arthur said in an interview at the time. "You have to be very street smart and on your game. If you're not, the media and the ECB will have a field day with you. We have to be smarter and make sure we make the right decisions. Unfortunately some guys are learning the hard way but you hope they will get better for it."
Now the Australians find themselves on the other side of a similar situation. Smith said there was no intention from his men to have their words overheard by the stump microphones, but they have taken a consciously aggressive approach into the series. That extends to their short-pitched bowling against England's batsmen and tail-enders, which Smith said would continue.
"I think we've made our intentions pretty clear with how we're going to bowl to the tail," he said. "I think they know that as well. They can expect a bit more of a barrage I'd say ... the Adelaide wicket might bring some of their bowlers into the game a little bit, but having said that it's probably one of the quickest wickets in the country at night. We saw how effective our bowlers could be when this wicket quickened up a little bit. That's exciting."
Smith said he saw no reason that the Bairstow incident would affect the relationships between the Australia and England players, or change the way Australia played the game.
"It's always played hard out on the field," Smith said. "We know there's a line that you're not to cross. I don't think it makes any real difference. We're going to continue to play the same way we have, nice and aggressively.
"This has been a really good week for us. I thought we played some really good cricket. We had to fight after the first couple of days and to get the result we were after is very pleasing. No doubt there'll continue to be some good, hard, aggressive cricket played throughout this series."
For his part, Bancroft came out of the match having satisfied all questions over how he would handle the step up to Test cricket, scoring an unbeaten 82 as Australia chased down the target of 170. His was the highest fourth-innings score by any Australian debutant in Test history, and his 173-run stand with Warner the all-time best unbeaten opening partnership in a successful Test chase.
"They were magnificent," Smith said. "Cam was obviously disappointed in the first innings to miss out, but the way he came out in the second innings, he had really good plans, he left really well, played nice and straight, and put the loose ball away. Obviously Davey was playing his nice, free-flowing game at the other end. I thought they played particularly well, and to get a 10-wicket win is very satisfying."