Australia v England, 3rd Test, Perth, 2nd day December 17, 2010

Australians step up sledging war

54

Australia have made a concerted effort to turn up the volume on England and the extra sledging is increasing the tension between the sides. Mitchell Johnson called Kevin Pietersen a "smart arse" for asking for his phone number on the field and was also involved in arguments with James Anderson.

Matt Prior exchanged words with Peter Siddle after being bounced out and appeared to invite the bowler out the back for another confrontation. "Siddle was going pretty hard, coming around the wicket and bowling short balls into his ribs," Johnson said. "I don't think [Prior] liked it too much."

Johnson believes Australia perform better when they are loud and he has asked Brad Haddin and Siddle for tips about getting in England's faces. Anderson and Johnson have swapped barbs over two Tests and today it was Johnson's turn to deliver a send-off when Anderson was his sixth victim as England slipped to 187 all out.

Pietersen also cheekily suggested he and Johnson could be friends after the series. "I didn't give him my phone number, that's for sure," Johnson said. "I don't think he was being friendly, I think he was being a bit of a smart arse."

Johnson had already got Pietersen's number when he had him lbw for 0 on the way to figures of 6 for 38. "Pietersen, whether he's joking around or being cheeky, he does get under some blokes' skins more than others," he said. "I'm sure I get under a lot of their blokes' skin. It goes both ways."

He judged Graeme Swann as the opposition's best sledger and said he enjoyed playing England because "they give it back as much as we give it to them". However, England's players didn't think they were such a big part of the verbals.

"I didn't realise it was all kicking off like that," Ian Bell said. "We thought there was a bit of banter going on, but I didn't realise Johnson was quite in our faces as probably what he thinks he was."

Since the fractious India series of 2007-08, Australia's on-field behaviour has been under extra scrutiny and Johnson said there were times when they had to tone down. "We definitely backed off for a little bit there, we've been a bit up and down with it," Johnson said.

Despite the bouts of trouble, the talk helps stir the Australians and it has been a feature of the team's make-up for the past 40 years. "If you look at the times we have performed well, they've been very fiery games," Johnson said. "I don't mind getting in a little bit of a confrontation, as long as we don't overstep the mark. We're playing for the Ashes."

Johnson is a quiet, sensitive man off the field and he has to act out a different role when he mouths off. He was in trouble earlier in the year for butting heads with New Zealand's Scott Styris and at times has to battle to stay in control.

"I just need to keep my emotions in check and I think I did that today," he said. "I was fired up enough, I was more worried about where I wanted to put the ball. I enjoyed celebrating the wickets I got today."

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on December 18, 2010, 5:21 GMT

    No body will challange Micheal Jonson as eveybody knows his girl firend is a Karrate champion

  • CustomKid on December 18, 2010, 4:47 GMT

    ha ha well said Harry93 - I hope Prior's quick on his feet and being a keeper I'd say he is, because if Siddle the ex Woodchopper got hold of him he'd soon be using his bones rather than timber to whittle his next creation.

    Prior deserved the send off he got after falling to the bouncer barrage. He looked like a child who'd just lost their parent in a shopping centre once they started zipping around his ears. I don't blame him lol but he's got to show more ticker than that.

    Also growing tired of the Aussie bashing here too. They aren't the team of 5 years ago and are easily beatable, so kick them as hard as you can while they're down because they'll be back in a few years time dominating again.

  • Trickstar on December 18, 2010, 4:45 GMT

    @dharmadasa Well if Johnson needs to get fired up before he starts to perform on the pitch, he might as well give it up. As a Pro cricketer you should be able to perform to the best of your ability all the time, not when some one calls you a name or two.

  • Nadeem1976 on December 18, 2010, 3:59 GMT

    Oh my favourate subject. Sledging. I believe in sledging and i love australians when they do that. Good thing about australian sledging is that they do it to win matches like wrestlers do and that makes cricket more intense and entertaining.

    A cricketer should be mentaly strong enough to face sledging from any team.

    I like england to start sledgin too in this match, they have upper hand in the series so why not put pressure on australia.

    Just do more sledging thats why i like Lillee and Miandad becuase they were master of that.

    Make this boaring test cricket some entertaining...come on.

  • Rahulbose on December 18, 2010, 2:29 GMT

    An Australian team sledging in home tests. So what else is new?

  • righthandbat on December 18, 2010, 2:08 GMT

    There is nothing 'manly' about sledging. There is also nothing 'manly' about crying about it - a good player will rise above such taunting and put the ball to the boundary as a retort.

  • Aspraso on December 18, 2010, 2:06 GMT

    Dear Aussies -- please clam up (at both ends) and play cricket -- the Ashes are stlll with the England !!

  • AussieMatt1974 on December 18, 2010, 1:27 GMT

    There is nothing wrong with what has been happening all through this series as far as sledging goes. It is Test Cricket at it's best not backyard cricket for gods sake! Both sides have been fine and with Anderson and Swann having their say when on top to the Aussies fightback with both ball and verbals yesterday, it makes for a fantastic contest. The rest of the world cricket do it and players such as Harbijan (the most fined player in cricket history), Zaheer and Sehwag are the worst and most obvoius but I don't care as long as the cricket is good and tough. Verbals are part of the gamesmanship and mental aspect. It's great the Aussies have got that aspect back. It has brought the series to life thats for sure.

  • on December 18, 2010, 1:24 GMT

    LOL!!! this is why ashes is so much fun to watch! and Congrats Johnson!!! For ur 6 wickets!! keep it up!! u finnaly found ur form!! :))

  • phoenixsteve on December 18, 2010, 1:08 GMT

    @Sfay... you've got to admit that apart from a few hours the Aussies have been consistent! CONSISTENTLY RUBBISH that is! COME ON ENGLAND!!!

  • on December 18, 2010, 5:21 GMT

    No body will challange Micheal Jonson as eveybody knows his girl firend is a Karrate champion

  • CustomKid on December 18, 2010, 4:47 GMT

    ha ha well said Harry93 - I hope Prior's quick on his feet and being a keeper I'd say he is, because if Siddle the ex Woodchopper got hold of him he'd soon be using his bones rather than timber to whittle his next creation.

    Prior deserved the send off he got after falling to the bouncer barrage. He looked like a child who'd just lost their parent in a shopping centre once they started zipping around his ears. I don't blame him lol but he's got to show more ticker than that.

    Also growing tired of the Aussie bashing here too. They aren't the team of 5 years ago and are easily beatable, so kick them as hard as you can while they're down because they'll be back in a few years time dominating again.

  • Trickstar on December 18, 2010, 4:45 GMT

    @dharmadasa Well if Johnson needs to get fired up before he starts to perform on the pitch, he might as well give it up. As a Pro cricketer you should be able to perform to the best of your ability all the time, not when some one calls you a name or two.

  • Nadeem1976 on December 18, 2010, 3:59 GMT

    Oh my favourate subject. Sledging. I believe in sledging and i love australians when they do that. Good thing about australian sledging is that they do it to win matches like wrestlers do and that makes cricket more intense and entertaining.

    A cricketer should be mentaly strong enough to face sledging from any team.

    I like england to start sledgin too in this match, they have upper hand in the series so why not put pressure on australia.

    Just do more sledging thats why i like Lillee and Miandad becuase they were master of that.

    Make this boaring test cricket some entertaining...come on.

  • Rahulbose on December 18, 2010, 2:29 GMT

    An Australian team sledging in home tests. So what else is new?

  • righthandbat on December 18, 2010, 2:08 GMT

    There is nothing 'manly' about sledging. There is also nothing 'manly' about crying about it - a good player will rise above such taunting and put the ball to the boundary as a retort.

  • Aspraso on December 18, 2010, 2:06 GMT

    Dear Aussies -- please clam up (at both ends) and play cricket -- the Ashes are stlll with the England !!

  • AussieMatt1974 on December 18, 2010, 1:27 GMT

    There is nothing wrong with what has been happening all through this series as far as sledging goes. It is Test Cricket at it's best not backyard cricket for gods sake! Both sides have been fine and with Anderson and Swann having their say when on top to the Aussies fightback with both ball and verbals yesterday, it makes for a fantastic contest. The rest of the world cricket do it and players such as Harbijan (the most fined player in cricket history), Zaheer and Sehwag are the worst and most obvoius but I don't care as long as the cricket is good and tough. Verbals are part of the gamesmanship and mental aspect. It's great the Aussies have got that aspect back. It has brought the series to life thats for sure.

  • on December 18, 2010, 1:24 GMT

    LOL!!! this is why ashes is so much fun to watch! and Congrats Johnson!!! For ur 6 wickets!! keep it up!! u finnaly found ur form!! :))

  • phoenixsteve on December 18, 2010, 1:08 GMT

    @Sfay... you've got to admit that apart from a few hours the Aussies have been consistent! CONSISTENTLY RUBBISH that is! COME ON ENGLAND!!!

  • phoenixsteve on December 18, 2010, 1:03 GMT

    @bustermove. Wow - you are SPOT ON! You're probably an Aussie too.... who'd have thought I'd be agreeing with the 'old enemy'... Never have I read so much sense on this Crickinfo comments! COME ON ENGLAND!!!

  • Something_Witty on December 18, 2010, 0:49 GMT

    Allan Border finally started to win games of cricket (especially Ashes tests), when he began to treat his opponents like they were the enemy. What Strauss said before the series started is exactly right. When Aus and Eng are on the field together, it is war. No other way to describe it. Once off the field you can be as chummy and buddy-buddy as you like with each other, but while playing, you can't afford to treat your opposition like they are your best friends.

  • milepost on December 18, 2010, 0:49 GMT

    The media, commentators, the english players - everyone has been saying Australia are rubbish. It has always been an illusion. These teams are much closer than anyone thinks and the cricket is now interesting. The banter goes both ways and that's a good thing. We want it to mean something to them and be competitive to watch.

  • popcorn on December 18, 2010, 0:45 GMT

    The Poms deserve the sledging. Who started it? Jimmy Anderson.

  • stationmaster on December 17, 2010, 23:55 GMT

    Channel 9 commentary is so stale - I turn it off and listen to the radio with the pictures - much easier on the ear.

  • bustermove on December 17, 2010, 23:49 GMT

    It really amazes me how as soon as the subject of sledging comes up, a whole heap of people (and particularly Indian commentators) start rubbishing the Aussies, you know the usual, "Can't win without sledging" rubbish, as if somehow the rest of the cricketing world are a bunch of cleanskins who would never resort to such underhanded tactics. Please people...get a life..and grow some eyes....Did any of you watch the first 2 tests of this series....If anything the Aussies have been quieter than the English....James Anderson hasn't let up, constantly chatting the Aussies. Did any of you watch the recent series between Aus and India......So Zaheer and Harbajhan were asking about the welfare of Ricky Ponting's mother were they? I am so tired of people carrying on as if their team would never do such things but those Aussies they're just terrible. Grow up. The only difference is Aussies stand up and give an interview saying they do it..... the rest just pretend they are perfect gentlemen!!

  • Stevo_ on December 17, 2010, 23:12 GMT

    @phoenixsteve "Still, they did play well FOR A CHANGE!"

    I think that comment pertains more to English cricket than Australian cricket

  • dr.thirsty on December 17, 2010, 23:01 GMT

    Agree with AJDoogs regards sledging and its limits. We (Eng) have had a bit to say and so have the Ozzies and I'm very much OK with that. It's a mans game so players need to just man-up, soak it up and move on. Sledging can add a nice little subplot, hopefully produce some memorable one-liners and help release pent up frustration. For the sledger maybe it pumps them up and gets a bit of fire into their performance; for the sledgee, it shouldn't really be a problem... I mean the guy can't actually do anything to you! Let them rant while you stay in control. I just hope never to see an England captain go crying to his opposite number to blub about sledging, personal space etc.

  • David47 on December 17, 2010, 22:46 GMT

    @Warren Smith and Something_Witty - agree with you guys 100%. Yes, Australia brought the verbal side of test cricket to prominance in the Lillee/Thompson era - but to suggest that they are the only ones that do it, or start it, is farcical and totally inaccurate. You only have to read articles/books by ex test players from all countries, or interviews, to get proof of that. You can also look at the "charge sheets" of all current players from all countries - actually, there's one sub-continent country that's a "stand-out" in this regard. As long as that line is not crossed, it's fine. Oh, and speaking of sledging - @bigwonder, you better stick with the synchronised swimming eh?

  • phoenixsteve on December 17, 2010, 22:39 GMT

    Hey the Aussies haven't won this test yet and the series looks Englands! Yet the Aussie sledging starts...... Apart from a great bowling display on day 2; the only sledging this Aussie team seems fit for is PULLING SANTAS SLEIGH and giving poor old Rudloph a break! Talk about ' one swallow doesn't make a summer'...... Still, they did play well FOR A CHANGE! Congratulations to Mitch! COME ON ENGLAND!!!

  • Jaggadaaku on December 17, 2010, 22:11 GMT

    English, please show great resposnse in second innings like you guy did in first test and save this match. We all want you to save this match. Sledging is the middle name of all Australian cricket players, so they wouldn't remove the middle name from their lives. So, the bottom line is they never change, but if we all (Every Cricket Team) give them defeat in every game, we would give them a correct reply of their sledging.

  • Stevo_ on December 17, 2010, 22:04 GMT

    @suresh_sksj "there was a recent series Ind vs NZ...there was not a word said among the guys on the field."

    If you actually believe that then you are very naive and have never played cricket at any kind of competitive level.

  • Stevo_ on December 17, 2010, 22:02 GMT

    Love it. If the Poms did fire Johnson up , thanks to them!

    Sounds like the Poms started it , and Johnson finished it by putting them back in the pavillion

  • dharmadasa on December 17, 2010, 21:02 GMT

    Why does this article not mention what is widely reported elsewhere, that it was the English team especially Anderson and Pietersen that started the sledging this time. It backfired because it got Johnson fired up. But I suppose that angle would not suit your pre-formed narrative, would it?

  • masterblaster1971 on December 17, 2010, 20:31 GMT

    Typical Australian tactics when their backs are against the wall. Come out hitting below the belt!

  • AJDoogs on December 17, 2010, 20:21 GMT

    If you can't handle a bit of sleding you are just weak and should be playing chess or lawn bowls. It is part of the game even at club level. However it should not be personal and is better if it is witty. I would rather have my grandmother in my cricket team than the other posters whinging about sleding, at least she would not run off the field crying when there is a bit of verbal.

  • Eccafrog on December 17, 2010, 19:45 GMT

    Why do the weak kneed administrators allow these overpaid buffoons to get away with such childish behaviour on the field. The support for sledging by some of the Channel 9 team is disgusting

  • dlockley13 on December 17, 2010, 19:29 GMT

    So why is this article about Australia and sledging? Why isn't the tone more along the lines of "Johnson stands up to English taunts" . Why is the reporting of what is basically just a bit of chit chat always an attack on Australia, especially when the origins lay with the opposition - eg Broad, Anderson, Pieterson and in previous series; Singh etc. Good on Johnson for fighting back, perhaps the Poms made a mistake in waking him up.

  • on December 17, 2010, 19:17 GMT

    Agree with @Warren Smith completely

  • on December 17, 2010, 19:01 GMT

    One learns sledging as a child. It is part of the cricket. I believe it should not be stopped or curtailed as long as people do not cross the boundaries of physical contact and using abusive language. One person in the English Team Broad crosses limits.

  • Vindaliew on December 17, 2010, 18:56 GMT

    Why must Aussies insist that their team be likeable when they bay like wolves when they see blood but daren't even bark when the bite fails? Sledge all you want, and deal with the unpopularity.

  • harry93 on December 17, 2010, 18:50 GMT

    So Pietersen asks for Johnson's phone number and Johnson calls him a smart arse and Prior suggests he and Siddle go and sort things out out the back and this is considered the Aussies stepping up the sledging? It seems more like the English having a (poor) go. The anti-Aussie reporting on this site is becoming a joke. BTW Siddle would destroy Prior...

  • Maui3 on December 17, 2010, 18:44 GMT

    "smart arse' and Asking for the phone number is sledging? Even my 3 and 4 year old says worse. Bad parent me!

  • on December 17, 2010, 18:42 GMT

    Sledging is fine as long as the insults are confined to the opponents' cricketing skills - as soon as it spills over into remarks bearing upon their race, class, intelligence, sexuality etc it becomes totally unacceptable!

  • on December 17, 2010, 18:41 GMT

    Where was this banter when they were being thrashed in India!! Everybody is a lion in his own den.

  • raghu1122000 on December 17, 2010, 18:31 GMT

    This is the australia I would love to see. This is the australia that made a significant part of what they are..

  • jayray999 on December 17, 2010, 17:55 GMT

    @Warren Smith: Where have you been, these past two decades? Sledging a.k.a mental disintegration is a purely Aussie invention. What is second nature to the likes of Lillee, Border, Waugh, Hayden, Ponting etc. is learned behavior for Harbajan, Sreesanth, Yuvraj, Khan, Strauss, Anderson and even the likes of Michael Clarke and Mitchell Johnson. I agree sledging should be stamped out for everyone but I fear your Aussie team cannot win without resorting to it.

  • suresh_sksj on December 17, 2010, 17:47 GMT

    there is a test match going on SA - Ind....SA dont sledge still they manage to win their matches.....Sledging is all Ausies invention...it's a great Ausie tactic since the days of Lilly to get the guy out mentally befoe he gives away his wkt...that's part of Ausie cricket...they can never stop sledging against India, SA, Eng, Pak, WI.....there was a recent series Ind vs NZ...there was not a word said among the guys on the field....excpt for a few clappings.....India managed to win the test and the 1day(5 Nil) with lot of comfort...where was sledging there....it's all mental games develped by Ausie professionals sitting in the dressing rooms....do what ever it takes to win the game...but be in the rules....like the UnderArm delivery by Chapples in the 70's...as the rule in the B&H game did not specify of any underarm delivery being illegal.....so Ausies are Ausies...they will do all that to win a game....sledging is part of that.....the bad thing is all teams are doing that now....

  • on December 17, 2010, 17:43 GMT

    one effort can't get aussies out of hell. England come back and hite the last nail of kangaro's coffin.

  • Celtics24 on December 17, 2010, 17:28 GMT

    Because, Warren, Australians have a different set of rules to play under apparently. These people are clueless and just clutch at straws to find ways to hate Australia. England have been sledging like crazy all series, particularly Anderson, prior and swann, so to see australia fire up as well makes awesome viewing. It's competitive, it's intense and that's what you want to see.

  • bigwonder on December 17, 2010, 17:20 GMT

    @Warren Smith, Yes it is OK for the rest of the world to sledge now cause Australia has been doing it for many many years. Don't complain when you are on the receiving end. We also finally have a confirmation from Australia. They only excel when they sledge, no sledging makes an Australian a dull boy. To all the fans who think sledging spices up the game, you are better off watching WWF. Leave cricket alone cause there is no sportsmanship in sledging.

  • on December 17, 2010, 17:15 GMT

    In fact ive got something else to say here - the sledging was actually started by Anderson and Strauss in the last test. Again - why so uppity about Australias?

  • on December 17, 2010, 16:52 GMT

    why is it fine for Harbajan, Sreesanth, Yuvraj, Khan, Strauss, Anderson etc to sledge and carry on as they please, but its not ok for an Australian. Deal with it - its not going to go away - the pressure on Asutralia to behave differently on field was more an off field attempt to bully them into submission on it. Worked for a while - but why should they be singled out for it. If sledging is bad for the game, it should be stamped out for everyone - not just for them!!!

  • hulk777 on December 17, 2010, 16:09 GMT

    What else can you expect from Aussies?? Rules are only for Gentlemen. But I want England to come back in this game, I want to see blood in Aussies eyes despite trying their best in sledging. That will show this game is the Best.

  • A_HTIMAN on December 17, 2010, 15:51 GMT

    alwdging is an art of the game. Without it it would be dull. But it should avoid racial discriminations.

  • Something_Witty on December 17, 2010, 15:37 GMT

    Nothing wrong with a bit of mouthing off. Great for the series as long as it's not overdone.

  • Vindaliew on December 17, 2010, 15:27 GMT

    All the more reason the world rejoices when Aussie faces are ground into the dirt, really.

  • DADA on December 17, 2010, 15:22 GMT

    Finally the Aussies are taking out their best Wicket taking deliveries (delivering verbals)... I wonder why is Pionting's men is invading others "PERSONAL SPACE"....

  • amanroy on December 17, 2010, 14:29 GMT

    They can never win without sledging! I will support England as well as India on the other side, not SA!

  • on December 17, 2010, 14:26 GMT

    a few verbals are nice for the competitive spirit and the level of excitement for fans is nice, fairly soft though giving a guy a send off after he is out though and thats from both teams

  • on December 17, 2010, 14:21 GMT

    About time we verbally bashed those POMs. Good to see Mitch put 'em back in their place. Hopefully he comes up with another michelle in the 2nd innings and 1 - 1 here we come!

  • westindiancanadian on December 17, 2010, 13:47 GMT

    Aussies sledging??? say it isn't so..

  • albstp on December 17, 2010, 13:43 GMT

    Couple of days back I read the article about the great tied test between Australia and West Indies and admired the comaradarie between the players of that time. And now I am reading an article saying that sledging is important to uplift the team's game. I dont know how it will uplift the team's game.

  • on December 17, 2010, 13:11 GMT

    wow. so they have been performing badly simply coz they behaved themselves and dnt sledge???? man. eheheh.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on December 17, 2010, 13:11 GMT

    wow. so they have been performing badly simply coz they behaved themselves and dnt sledge???? man. eheheh.

  • albstp on December 17, 2010, 13:43 GMT

    Couple of days back I read the article about the great tied test between Australia and West Indies and admired the comaradarie between the players of that time. And now I am reading an article saying that sledging is important to uplift the team's game. I dont know how it will uplift the team's game.

  • westindiancanadian on December 17, 2010, 13:47 GMT

    Aussies sledging??? say it isn't so..

  • on December 17, 2010, 14:21 GMT

    About time we verbally bashed those POMs. Good to see Mitch put 'em back in their place. Hopefully he comes up with another michelle in the 2nd innings and 1 - 1 here we come!

  • on December 17, 2010, 14:26 GMT

    a few verbals are nice for the competitive spirit and the level of excitement for fans is nice, fairly soft though giving a guy a send off after he is out though and thats from both teams

  • amanroy on December 17, 2010, 14:29 GMT

    They can never win without sledging! I will support England as well as India on the other side, not SA!

  • DADA on December 17, 2010, 15:22 GMT

    Finally the Aussies are taking out their best Wicket taking deliveries (delivering verbals)... I wonder why is Pionting's men is invading others "PERSONAL SPACE"....

  • Vindaliew on December 17, 2010, 15:27 GMT

    All the more reason the world rejoices when Aussie faces are ground into the dirt, really.

  • Something_Witty on December 17, 2010, 15:37 GMT

    Nothing wrong with a bit of mouthing off. Great for the series as long as it's not overdone.

  • A_HTIMAN on December 17, 2010, 15:51 GMT

    alwdging is an art of the game. Without it it would be dull. But it should avoid racial discriminations.