Verbal taunts continue between Ashes test matches
ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) — Australia fast bowler Mitchell Johnson says he doesn’t anticipate a truce in the verbal sparring between his team and England for the second Ashes test beginning Dec. 5 at Adelaide.
Johnson, who took man-of-the-match figures of 9-103 in Australia’s 381-run win in the first test at Brisbane, says England was being seriously affected by the often vitriolic on-field taunts.
He says any attempt by England coach Andy Flowers to discuss a toning down of the banter with his Australian counterpart Darren Lehmann should be batted away.
“I think it’s worked for us, I definitely think they’re rattled by it,” Johnson said 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.”
On Monday, veteran batsman Jonathan Trott, who was out for 10 and 9 in Brisbane on short-pitched deliveries, returned to England with a stress-related illness. There was no suggestion that sledging played a part in his departure.
Lehmann told an Adelaide radio station any changes were unlikely.
“From my point of view, Andy looks after his side and I look after my side, that’s what you do in the game of cricket,” Lehmann said. “I played cricket with Andy (at South Australia), I talk to him all the time, but at the end of the day, he’s in control of the England cricket team and we’ve got to try and get the Ashes back.
“Trott has gone home and we hope he gets well soon. We do care about that, but we’re still going to play really hard cricket.”
Australia captain Michael Clarke was fined 20 percent of his match fee after television viewers heard him telling England tailender and pace bowler James Anderson to prepare for a broken arm before a Johnson delivery.
On Wednesday Fairfax Media reported that International Cricket Council match referee Jeff Crowe would speak to both teams about their behavior following the finish to the first test. It also reported that David Warner was counselled by team management over his criticism of Trott.
When Flower was asked whether the Australian opener should apologize or be punished for describing England’s “scared eyes” and Trott’s dismissal as “weak,” he said: “We set our own standards and the Australians must set theirs.”
Lehmann said he had spoken to Warner about his comments.
“We’re all about improving ourselves off the field, so I spoke to him, but that’s a conversation I had with him and the senior players and that is dealt with,” Fairfax quoted Lehmann as saying.
Johnson, meanwhile, says he understands what Trott is going through.
Johnson had a form slump while playing for Australia in South Africa and Sri Lanka in 2011 and says a six-month toe injury layoff — and time to ponder his future — was all that prevented him from retiring.
“It was a real shock for me,” Johnson said of Trott’s departure from Australia. “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. 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.”
England will play an Australian Chairman’s XI in a two-day match in Alice Springs starting Friday.