Australia coach Darren Lehmann has rejected the idea of a meeting with England counterpart Andy Flower to set some sledging ground rules ahead of the second Ashes Test in Adelaide.
Flower told British media that the right balance needed to be found with on-field banter after frustrations boiled over on the final day of the first Test in Brisbane, with Australia skipper Michael Clarke fined 20 percent of his match fee.
Clarke was caught by a stump microphone telling England paceman Jimmy Anderson to expect a broken arm, with leg-spin great Shane Warne claiming it was sparked by the fast bowler threatening to punch George Bailey.
“Now you have brought it up [talking to Lehmann], I’ll have a think about it,” Flower said. “A balance has got to be found on the pitch between competitiveness and not overstepping the line.”
However, Lehmann said talks on the issue were not necessary as he looks to build on Australia’s huge 381-run victory in Brisbane that left England bruised and battered.
“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,” he told commercial radio in Adelaide late on Tuesday. “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.”
Lehmann said sledging was part and parcel of the game, and England needed to live with it.
“They’re all grown men out there, they will work it out,” he said. “I just know we copped a lot in England and we didn’t shy away from that. That’s what happens when you go away, so I don’t see what the difference is from England to here. We’re on the other end of it, that’s just the way it goes. Both teams play hard and as long as it stays on the field I’m happy with that.”
England’s chief tormentor in Brisbane, fiery paceman Mitchell Johnson, agreed with his coach, telling reporters yesterday that England can forget about a truce.
“I think it’s worked for us. I definitely think they’re rattled by it,” Johnson said of the sledging. “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.”
England were also furious that David Warner publicly criticized batsman Jonathan Trott as “weak,” with Flower and captain Alastair Cook blasting him as disrespectful.
Trott, a stalwart of the team, sensationally pulled out of the Ashes series on Monday and returned to England due to a “stress-related illness,” widely reported to be depression.
Flower said Warner’s comments were not to blame, but Lehmann said he had spoken to the opening batsman.
“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,” Lehmann said.
England have a two-day game in the searing heat of Alice Springs against a Chairman’s XI starting tomorrow as they try to fix their batting problems ahead of the second Test in Adelaide from Thursday next week.