Take the fight to Australia, says Botham

GREG BUCKLE
Last updated 15:58 27/11/2013

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England great Ian Botham says he doesn't want to see the Ashes turned into a "love-in" and has called on the tourists to take the fight to Australia.

The level of sledging is a hot topic following Australia's first Test win, with captain Michael Clarke fined for telling Jimmy Anderson to prepare for "a broken f***ing arm" after the English tailender allegedly threatened to punch Australia's George Bailey.

Botham wants England to dig in and fight back in the second Test in Adelaide starting on December 5.

"The Ashes is hard, uncompromising cricket," Botham said in Britain's Daily Mirror.

"There is no quarter given and if you manage to avoid the balls whizzing past your ears then you won't miss the barrage of abuse that flies with them.

"It's about putting your body and soul into beating the oldest enemy of the lot and if the sparks fly, well, so be it.

"Chirp all you like, but this series will simply boil down to batting, bowling and fielding.

"Sure, the Australians will make it as uncomfortable as possible, but what are you going to do? You take it to them."

England batsman Jonathan Trott returned home following the Brisbane defeat with a stress-related illness and coach Andy Flower doesn't want Trott's sensitive departure to become a topic of conversation on the field.

He was considering discussing the matter with his Australian counterpart Darren Lehmann.

Flower says a balance has to be found between competitiveness and not overstepping the line.

Lehmann is showing little interest in talks with his former South Australia teammate, saying touring sides are always going to cop it like Australia did in England in 2013.

"Andy looks after his side and I look after my side," Lehmann told Adelaide radio station 5AA.

"I was happy that 'Bails' gave him (Anderson) a bit back. That's part and parcel of the game.

"They're all grown men out there, they will work it out.

"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."

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- AAP

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