Clarke fined but Lehmann wants sledging to stay

AUSTRALIA captain Michael Clarke has been fined 20 per cent of his match fee for an X-rated sledge towards England fast bowler James Anderson during the first Ashes Test at Brisbane.

As Anderson prepared to face the bowling of seamer Mitchell Johnson, he was told by Clarke “get ready for a broken f***ing arm”.

The comments, picked up by a stump microphone, breached the International Cricket Council’s code of conduct with respect to “using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting during an international match”.

Clarke admitted the offence and accepted the fine of around £1,700, negating the need for a formal hearing. His comments came in addition to opening batsman David Warner’s open criticism and goading of England’s Jonathan Trott in the 381-run win for the hosts.

And coach Darren Lehmann is happy for the insults to continue.

“I like our boys being aggressive as long as they don’t cross the line,” he said.

“It will always be hard-fought between Australia and England. If any players crosses the line they [the ICC] will deal with it.”

WHO WILL FILL BATTING VACANCY?

Jonny Bairstow
Has won 12 Test match caps for England, the most recent in the fourth Test of the summer’s Ashes series, and is the most experienced alternative to Trott. Bairstow averaged 29 – slightly below his career score of 30.22 – and was dropped for the fifth and final Test at the Oval. The 24-year-old stood in for Matt Prior as wicketkeeper in one warm-up match of the current tour and scored 48 runs. Plays for Yorkshire, where he averages 43.58 in 80 first class matches.

Gary Ballance
The Zimbabwe-born 24-year-old featured in two of England’s warm-up matches, but contributed just four runs. Ballance is uncapped at Test level by England, but does boast a very healthy first-class average. The left-handed Yorkshire batsman has an average of 53.33 in 67 matches. Ballance scored 1,251 runs in the 2013 County Championship season alone, plus centuries for England A against Australia and Bangladesh.

Ben Stokes
Including Stokes, 22, would give England a second spinner to back up Graeme Swann, a major positive on the traditionally flat track at the second Test venue of Adelaide. Stokes, born in New Zealand, is uncapped but did feature in the summer one-day international series against Australia, taking five wickets at Southampton. He was sent home from an England Lions tour of Australia earlier this year after two incidents of unprofessional behaviour.