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Ashes series sledging row takes another turn

ANDREW WU
Last updated 09:48 26/11/2013
Fairfax

The history of sport has seen far uglier, and many more creative taunts than what Michael Clarke hurled at the Gabba on the weekend. But is it sportsmanship or just abusive?

Shane Warne
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SLEDGING ROW: Shane Warne has accused James Anderson of threatening to punch George Bailey in the face.

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Shane Warne has accused James Anderson of threatening to punch George Bailey in the face, and defended skipper Michael Clarke for stepping in to support the Test debutant.

As the fallout continued after the dramatic and controversial finish to the first Test, it emerged on Monday that Anderson's treatment of Bailey sparked the fiery exchange between Clarke and the England pace spearhead. And David Warner weighed into the drama, describing Anderson as "arrogant".

In developments late on Monday, Warne claimed in a series of tweets that Anderson had told Bailey, who was fielding in close, that he wanted to punch the Tasmanian in the face.

"@MClarke23 stuck up for his debutant Bailey as he should have too as Capt after Anderson said he wanted to punch Bailey in the face!" wrote Warne, who as a commentator with Channel Nine was privy to what was heard on the sound effects microphones.

"On another note, I think it's a disgrace that @MClarke23 has been fined. What about what Jimmy Anderson said to Bailey, which wasn't heard.

"Unfortunately only Clarke's reaction to Anderson's was heard live, we all heard Anderson's sledge that led to Clarke reacting!

"To me it should just stay out in the middle. They all shook hands had a giggle & moved on. By fining Clarke it's made a big deal out of it."

Bailey was tight-lipped when asked about the incident in Hobart on Monday. "Not sure, he must have been a bit upset by the way the game was going, I guess," Bailey said.

Warner described as "bizarre" the circumstances which prompted Anderson to approach Bailey, who could be seen on the broadcast exchanging words with the batsman.

"I think the boys were giving Jimmy a bit of banter because he came out and targeted the new guy," Warner said.

"I don't know what was said between them but it was a bit random - it's his debut. The other guys probably looked at it as if Jimmy Anderson was targeting the new guy in a way, so the senior boys like Michael and Watto probably gave a little back to him."

Warner declared Australia's aggression towards England would continue and warned the vanquished tourists he would be ready for whatever they serve up to him in Adelaide.

Warner said Anderson, England's second leading Test wicket-taker, had every right to be arrogant with the ball – but less so when batting where he averages 10.4 from 88 matches.

"You can say some people are arrogant, on the field you play with arrogance, he is definitely one of those players who is a world class bowler and he's got the skills - he can be arrogant," Warner said on Monday.

"He's deserved it, he's got 300 Test wickets but when he comes out to bat it's a different story because he's not that good at plain fast bowling and the guys wanted to play a bit of Mickey Mouse with him yesterday."

The Australians took extra glee at Anderson's discomfort at the crease, particularly as the paceman is not short of a word to opposition batsmen with ball in hand. His meek dismissal, to a top edge fending at a short ball from Mitchell Johnson, will ensure Australia will continue their ploy of using bouncing the England tail.

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"It's quite funny when the bowlers come in because you know from our bowling point of view, and same thing with them, you try and bounce their bowlers," Warner said.

"You try and get everyone on the back foot and that's how you try and get them out. Yesterday the boys were full of energy, we needed one wicket to win with Jimmy coming out.

"We know he likes to give a little bit of lip and we all do but sometimes he doesn't take it. He doesn't talk when he's out there batting but when he's bowling he's always full of talk. It's good to get a bit of banter on top of him as well."

Warner's comments about Anderson will add further spice to his relationship with the English team.The dynamic opener, however, said he would cop his medicine from the English attack.

"I'm ready to tackle whatever they throw at me, we're all professionals, we all should cop it on the chin," Warner said.

"You're copping it from all angles whether you're in form or you're not in form. I think it's gotten to them a little bit. We saw yesterday with Mitch's spell as well. The bounce and pace on that wicket I'll say it probably scared them a little bit more.

"Come Adelaide we'll need a different plan because it's not as fast and bouncy but come Perth it'll be another thing like the bumper barrage in Queensland."

- Sydney Morning Herald

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