The Ashes 2013-14 November 27, 2013

England 'rattled' by sledging - Johnson


Mitchell Johnson has told England not to expect any let-up in the verbal barrage they will receive from the Australians when the second Test begins in Adelaide next week. The match referee for the series, Jeff Crowe, is set to speak to both captains, Michael Clarke and Alastair Cook, ahead of the second Test in an effort to ease tensions and remind the players of their on-field responsibilities after the sledging that occurred in the dying stages of Australia's win in Brisbane.

Clarke was fined 20% of his match fee for telling England's No.11 James Anderson to "get ready for a broken f***ing arm", a comment that was broadcast by the stump microphone, but no other players faced any such sanctions. However, commentator Shane Warne later claimed that Clarke was only sticking up for short-leg fieldsman George Bailey, who had been engaged in some verbals with Anderson leading up to Clarke's comment.

"I think it's worked for us. I definitely think they're rattled by it," Johnson, who was Man of the Match at the Gabba for his nine wickets, told reporters in Perth on Wednesday. "They don't like it at all. Obviously their coach has come out and wanted a truce from what I've heard. That's not going to change from our end.

"It was pretty quiet the whole match until sort of closer to the end and we know there's definitely tension there, there always has been. I thought it was really good what Michael did as a captain, that's what you want your captain to do, to stand up for the players and that's what he did.

"It was really exciting to see. It just happened to be that the stump mike was up at that time. There were obviously other things that were said that weren't heard. It was nothing unusual. But I was really happy with how he stood up for the team."

Channel Nine's head of sport, Steve Crawley, offered an apology to Clarke following the broadcasting of his comment to Anderson, saying that the dialogue should not have been broadcast via the stump microphone. Fast bowler Peter Siddle said he expected sledging from both teams to continue as the tour progressed.

"Throughout the series there will be more of it going on but it will be under control," Siddle said. "Anderson brought it on himself. So fair's fair. There was a lot of other stuff going on and James Anderson was in the thick of it and a culprit for it all happening. He is one of the leading wicket-takers in the world so he is happy to have a chirp but as long as Mitchell Johnson keeps bowling them around his ears that will quieten him up pretty quickly."

However, the sledging debate rose to another level when England's Jonathan Trott returned home following the first Test due to a stress-related illness, although the England camp was at pains to say that Trott's departure did not have anything to do with comments from David Warner that Trott's batting had been "pretty poor and pretty weak". Johnson, who has at time struggled under the weight of pressure and expectations, said he had been surprised by the news about Trott.

"It was a real shock for me," Johnson said. "It can be tough at times when it's not going so well. You start to think about every little thing that's going on in your life when you should be focusing on one thing. It seems maybe he's thinking that way at the moment, and just needs to just get away from the game.

"For me, when I had my toe injury, it was great to get away to freshen up mentally. I just wish Trott the best. Hopefully he can come back later in the tour or in the future, because he's a great player for England and he's done exceptionally well."

Australia's players are spending some time in their home cities during the break between Tests, while England prepare to take on a Cricket Australia Chairman's XI in a two-day tour match in Alice Springs. The second Test begins at the refurbished Adelaide Oval on Thursday next week.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on November 30, 2013, 1:51 GMT

    Bring it on Aus, just need a couple more Yorkies in the team, Bresnan, Bairstow, Ballance? and we'll be ready for anything, including the verbals.

  • dummy4fb on November 29, 2013, 23:22 GMT

    Mr. James Anderson as for you like they say " what goes around comes around "

  • JG2704 on November 29, 2013, 17:11 GMT

    @Rajendra Rele on (November 28, 2013, 19:04 GMT) Probably best you read up about stress/mental illness which is a general thing - not exclusive to cricket. Re Cricketing matters , Cook and spine. This is a big test for him but if you're comparing Cook with Strauss - please could you tell me who was leading the side in India , coming back from a 1st test inns defeat and scoring runs for fun and who led the side when they were beaten 3-0 in UAE inc not being able to chase a 150 target in one of the tests?

    I tried posting a more detailed post re this but for some reason Cricinfo deemed it unfit for publication

  • kuinton on November 29, 2013, 8:10 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding You are delicious but wrong on this issue. The "Spirit of Cricket" clause appears in the preamble to the laws and IS part of the current code of laws of cricket. Of course enforcing penalties for contraventions of the "Spirit of Cricket" is up to the umpires; however this is the case for ALL of the laws (bearing in mind that despite there being two modes of adjudication of the appeal for dismissal, a batsman is most likely not going to declare himself out and the onus is on the umpire). Sledging is illegal under the current code of laws of cricket.

  • Shaggy076 on November 28, 2013, 22:22 GMT

    Rajendra Rele ; There have been no threats, just the disclosure of tactics. As for the English scared I doubt that, they just had a bad game however, I can see that it is a lot more intimidating for England than going to India - that was quite easy for them. I don't think Lehmann desperate, he started coaching a team in turmoil with no time to prepare and this is the first series he has prepared them for. There is a difference between desperation and determination, and we have only lost two tests on Australian soil in the last 3 seasons, whilst winning 11 so this isn't a great turn-up.

  • topspeed55 on November 28, 2013, 21:14 GMT

    I think Cricket Australia needs help. They desperately need to learn the definition of cricket. Its a contest of bat and ball and not the mouth. Mouth is only required when you appeal for a decision. But if a team is sledging in spite of winning or losing then its a disease.

  • bbumbum on November 28, 2013, 20:10 GMT

    Make sledging legal, get a few more microphones around the pitch. ICC can make more $ for TV rights. It would make TESTS more fun to watch. Everybody wins.

  • dummy4fb on November 28, 2013, 19:18 GMT

    Honestly I've been reading the threats exchanged between the two teams on here and its comical... I mean grown men battling for national honour, a place in history and in Australia's case honestly the fig leaf thats barely covering its modesty as a cricketing power are only saying this ball is going to break your arm and I am going to beat you etc etc... its school yard stuff.....I say turn on the mic to the public it will be fun....Australia have no choice but to throw evertyhing at can see the desperation in Lehmanns eyes....he needs it....England instead of stuttering so funnily need to realise that they are one blow away from sending Australia back to the Kim Hughes days....I cant understand why England come to Australia scared after winning the Ashes at home, this is the second time... I think Strauss inspired more spine in the team than Cook....

  • dummy4fb on November 28, 2013, 19:04 GMT

    Can some English person please explain why English players run home with depression or stress related issues ? When Dhoni and folks were getting hammered many of them could have jumped ship...ditto for Clarke and co who went through so much on his last two tours. Trott is a world leading batsmen and one of the key hopes of test cricket, his style is the style that defines batting for tests, how can he torpedo his own career like this ? What is so stress inducing that you have to go home...that too after being worked over for only one test....Clarke has been worked over and over and is still standing......Its obvious that Aus are gonna come hard...England can come harder at them.....This bizzarely shows that England has gone backwards despite being on a winning streak....can someone explain that......Its not as if Johnson has appeared from the sky for the first time.....This means England is a mentally weak team, it may become a technically strong outfit again, but mentally weak....

  • YorkshirePudding on November 28, 2013, 10:52 GMT

    @kuinton, the spirit of the game is not the Laws of the game, the spirit is a guideline, and as long as it stops when the bowler starts his approach then there is no problem, if a player shouted at the batsman at the point of delivery or threw something in his eyeline then that would probably be deemed as unfair play by the umpire.

    Saying something between deliveries is acceptable.

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