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Ashes 2017-18: Jonny Bairstow-Cameron Bancroft ‘headbutt’ in list of controversies

The headbutt incident involving Jonny Bairstow and Cameron Bancroft in the ongoing 2017-18 Ashes series is an addition to the list of past controversies that have plagued the Ashes contests between Australia and England.

cricket Updated: Nov 28, 2017 13:13 IST
Matthew Scott/Omnisport
Matthew Scott/Omnisport
Omnisport, London
Ashes 2017-18,The Ashes,Australia vs England
Jonny Bairstow was involved in a ‘headbutt’ incident with Cameron Bancroft just before the start of the 2017-18 Ashes series between Australia and England. (REUTERS)

Jonny Bairstow was recently in the news over an incident when he ‘headbutted’ Australia opener Cameron Bancroft at a Perth bar during the Ashes 2017-18 warm-up game. Bairstow was being investigated by the England and Wales Cricket Board but the entire issue has been blown out of proportion. The story has become somewhat more farcical, with the headbutt only part of a very strange way that the Yorkshireman says hello to people apparently.

With the scent of controversy dashed, we look back at some other Ashes moments that did raise eyebrows...

David Warner was suspended for two Tests in the 2013 Ashes after he threw a punch at Joe Root in a bar. ( Getty Images )

David Warner punches Joe Root in Walkbout bar

Initial reports of the Bairstow butt brought back memories of David Warner’s clash with Joe Root before the 2013 series. Before ‘The Reverend’, there was ‘The Bulldog’ and Warner took offence at Root wearing a green and gold wig as a beard in a Birmingham boozer to the point that he threw a punch at the now England skipper. Warner missed the first two Tests of the series as a result.

Terry Alderman tackled a fan during the Test in Perth but dislocated his shoulder which kept him out for close to a year. ( Twitter )

Terry Alderman tackles fan, dislocates shoulder

When Bob Willis edged Terry Alderman to bring up England’s 400 on day two at the WACA in 1982, little seemed amiss when a few youngsters emerged onto the outfield. However, an English teenager, sun-baked and perhaps sozzled, appeared to aim a punch at the Australia seamer, who reacted by charging after him and rugby tackling him. It backfired badly for Alderman, who dislocated his shoulder in the act and spent almost a year out of action.

Ricky Ponting was run-out in the 2005 Ashes and the Australian captain lashed out at Duncan Fletcher as he walked back to the pavilion. ( Getty Images )

Ricky Ponting’s run-out rage

What is rarely remembered about this story - it was a seriously suicidal single.. Damien Martyn nudged into the offside and called a single, Ricky Ponting obliges, but Gary Pratt swoops and pings the stumps. Australia had been unimpressed with England’s use of substitute fielders and Ponting stomped off the pitch, aiming a barrage of expletives towards Duncan Fletcher on the Trent Bridge balcony.

David Gower’s tour in 1991 was marred by controversy due to the Tiger Moth incident, in which he flew a plane close to the ground in the middle of a warm-up game. ( Twitter )

David Gower’s Tiger Moth incident

Bored on a quiet day at work? Why not take a ride in a biplane and fly over the office to catch up with everyone? That’s the David Gower way! England’s former skipper had a carefree approach to batting that made him a great, but a similar approach to discipline landed him in hot water when he and John Morris snuck away from a tour match in 1991.

Dennis Lillee’s ‘Combat’ Aluminium bat was the talk of the town in the late 70s. ( Twitter )

Dennis Lillee Aluminium bat

Dennis Lillee is best known as one of the most fearsome Ashes bowlers, but his batting courted great controversy in Perth in 1979 when he strode to the crease with an aluminium apparatus. A metallic ‘clunk’ prompted England captain Mike Brearley to complain that the ‘ComBat’ was against the spirit of the game, as well as damaging the ball, and Lillee was forced to change back to willow.

Stuart Broad refused to walk when he edged a delivery during the 2013 Test in Trent Bridge. ( Getty Images )

Stuart Broad refuses to walk

“I hope the Australian public give it to him right from the word go for the whole [Australian] summer, and I hope he cries and goes home. I don’t advocate walking, but when you hit it to first slip it’s pretty hard.” Australia coach Darren Lehmann summed up most Aussie thoughts when Stuart Broad clearly nicked Ashton Agar to slip at Trent Bridge in 2013. In the modern days of DRS, it wouldn’t be an issue, but a combination of umpire Aleem Dar somehow failing to raise his finger and Broad remaining still prompted a huge backlash, including a media ‘blackout’ of the bowler’s name and face when England travelled Down Under a few months later.

John Snow was on the receiving end of hostility in Sydney in 1970-71 for his bouncer barrage on Terry Janner. ( Twitter )

John Snow faces hostility

Hostile bowling is to Ashes cricket what strawberries are to cream and melted cheese to sausage sandwiches (trust me...). But John Snow’s rough treatment of Terry Janner in Sydney during the 1970-71 series was too much for one fan, who reached over the fence at fine leg to square up to the bowler while cans rained down on him from above.

England’s chances of winning the Headingley Test in 1981 was 500-1, but Dennis Lillee and Rodney Marsh placed bets which resulted in some controversy. ( Twitter )

Australia’s pain, Lillee and Marsh’s gain

England’s fightback to win at Headingley in 1981 is regularly named among the all-time great Ashes moments. It had its fair share of controversy, too. Dennis Lillee (him again) and Rod Marsh’s eyes lit up when they saw odds of 500/1 for England to win flick onto the scoreboard. They instructed Australia’s coach driver to put a bet on, which came in thanks to Bob Willis’ heroics. Lillee later said: “I had never seen such ludicrous odds offered for a two-horse race.”

James Anderson and Monty Panesar were apparently accused of wasting time as England salvaged a draw in the 2009 Ashes contest in Cardiff. ( Getty Images )

England survive by the skin of their teeth

James Anderson and Monty Panesar batted out an unlikely draw in the 2009 Ashes opener, but not without sending Ricky Ponting into another rage. Twelfth man Bilal Shafayat came out to deliver new gloves to Anderson twice in as many overs, while England’s physio also made an appearance as the tourists saw crucial minutes tick away, much to their captain’s chagrin.

James Anderson was on the receiving end of a verbal barrage from Michael Clarke during the 2013-14 Ashes contest in Brisbane. ( Getty Images )

‘Get ready for broken F****** arm’

James Anderson had been the scourge of Australia in the 2013 series at home and the teams had grown sick of each other when they met in Australia a few months later. The England bowler was alleged to have threatened to punch George Bailey, prompting captain Michael Clarke to hit back by telling Anderson to ready himself for a broken arm at the hands of Mitchell Johnson.

First Published: Nov 28, 2017 13:11 IST