ENGLAND boss Andy Flower and Australia counterpart Darren Lehmann are on course for a fresh row over calls for both sides to tone down the climate of increasing animosity between the Ashes rivals.
The hosts’ emphatic first-Test victory featured several flashpoints, one of which saw Aussie captain Michael Clarke fined for a foul-mouthed warning to England’s James Anderson that he should expect a broken arm.
Controversial home batsman David Warner has since admitted he “went too far” in calling Jonathan Trott “weak” and “poor”, after the England player quit the tour citing a “stress-related illness”.
Flower yesterday reiterated that Warner’s comments had not contributed to Trott’s decision to depart after the match on Sunday, but he called on Lehmann and Clarke to set an example to their team.
“I think there are standards of behaviour that individuals and teams must set themselves,” he said.
“The competition should be intense – it’s played between two proud cricketing nations – but I think we need good leaders, who know where to draw the line, and they need to be good role models.
“I believe that the series can still be played in a good spirit, and let the best team win it. But I agree there’s a balance to be had, and we all have a responsibility to find that balance.”
Lehmann, however, warned Flower and England that Australia would not rein in their aggressive tactics nor their verbal attacks as they attempt to win a first Ashes series for six years.
“Jonathan Trott’s gone home, and I hope he gets well soon. We’re still going to play really hard cricket – that’s what we’re about,” he said.
“We copped a lot in England [during the summer series], and we didn’t shy away from that. That’s what happens, you expect it when you go away.
“So I don’t see what the difference is from England to here. That is just the way it goes. Both teams played hard, and as long as it stays on the field, I’m happy with that.”
Australia bowler Peter Siddle went further, arguing that Anderson had invited the offending remarks from Clarke. It follows claims from Aussie great Shane Warne that the England paceman had threatened to punch home debutant George Bailey.
“Anderson brought it on himself, so fair’s fair,” said Siddle, who added that “the most disappointing thing” was that Clarke’s X-rated comments were picked up by the stump microphone.
“There was a lot of other stuff going on and James Anderson was in the thick of it and a culprit for it all happening.
“He is one of the leading wicket-takers in the world so he is happy to have a chirp but as long as Mitchell Johnson keeps bowling them around his ears that will quieten him up pretty quickly.”