Anderson calls for sledge-free Ashes

With the biggest series on the cricket calendar fast approaching, England's spearhead is hoping for an even-tempered contest

James Anderson has called for England and Australia to ditch the sledging and bring the spirit of cricket to the Ashes.

Tensions are always high when the old rivals battle for the urn, with plenty of verbals flying from both sides.

Australia captain Michael Clarke memorably warned Anderson, renowned as a fiery competitor, to "get ready for a broken arm" while batting during the 2013-14 Brisbane Test.

Anderson is no stranger to exchanging words with batsmen in the middle and was charged following an alleged altercation involving India's Ravindra Jadeja at Trent Bridge last year, though the case was later dismissed.

But New Zealand's tourists have won praise from all quarters for the even-tempered way they have conducted themselves in recent years, not least during a highly entertaining tour of England which ended with a 56-run T20 defeat at Old Trafford on Tuesday. 

Australia captain Michael Clarke talks to in 2014 about the 'infamous sledge' at James Anderson in the first Ashes Test of 2013-14

England responded with a similar approach and Anderson, perhaps ambitiously, hopes the rest of the summer can continue in that vein.

"I hope it's played in the same nature as the New Zealand series, that was a really positive series and the nature of both sides' cricket was helped by the spirit the game was played in," Anderson said.

"(But) there's a different relationship between the two teams, the Ashes is a huge series for both sets of players.

"If there is needle, it's something I thought I thrived on or needed in the past but having played in the last few months, I think it's important we get the balance right of playing in the right spirit, but also having that competitive edge to win a game of cricket for your country."

The prospect of Australia playing nice over the course of the five-Test series seems a fanciful one, however.

They were roundly criticised for the brash approach they adopted in the World Cup final victory over the Black Caps and Clarke had barely set foot in this country when he laid out his commitment to the approach.

"It (aggression) is how we play our best and it's a big part of the Australian way, but you also need to keep in mind that there is a line you can't cross," he said.

"Both teams might 'headbutt' that line but I am confident we will not overstep the mark, and that the series will be played in the right spirit."

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Respect. Johnson and Anderson shaking hands after the second Test in 2013-14 // Getty Images