Tensions rise as another Ashes loss looms

  • AFP, Adelaide
  • |
  • Updated: Dec 09, 2013 00:41 IST

A physical confrontation and verbal sparring again marred a tense day on Sunday as Australia closed in on victory over England in the second Ashes Test in Adelaide.

Australia's fearsome fast bowler Mitchell Johnson appeared to brush shoulders with England debutant Ben Stokes, and Matt Prior (31 not out) had a running verbal battle with several Australian players in the day's final overs.

Australian skipper Michael Clarke was fined 20 percent of his match fee for threatening tailender James Anderson with a broken arm in the home team's 381-run victory in the first Test in Brisbane, which was tarnished by constant sledging as frustrations boiled over.

The insults resurfaced Sunday but players from both sides said the confrontations were unremarkable in the tradition of hard-fought Ashes contests.

"I didn't feel there was anything going on out there," said Joe Root, who scored a fighting 87 for England. "You want to play hard cricket and it's Ashes cricket. You'd expect that. You'd be disappointed if there wasn't a bit of rivalry and I think it makes entertaining cricket to watch, and it's certainly good to be involved in that out there in the middle."

Root said he expected to be sledged by Australian and was not put off by the verbal insults and sniping during his four and a half hours at the crease. "I think they're just trying to get under my skin and find a way to help get me out," he said.

Not much to it
Australia paceman Peter Siddle played down the frayed tempers, which needed the intervention of umpires Marais Erasmus and Kumar Dharmasena at times late in the day. "There wasn't a lot to it. There's no more than we've ever seen in the history of cricket."


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