Magellan Ashes 2017-18
Bancroft details 'weird' Bairstow encounter
England wicketkeeper says event has been 'blown out of all proportion' as Aussie opener laughs off incident
Martin Smith at the Gabba
27 November 2017, 01:07 PM AEST
England have played down the controversy surrounding Jonny Bairstow, saying "a mountain has been made out of a molehill" and that the wicketkeeper-batsman has no case to answer.
And Australian opener Cameron Bancroft has laughed off the incident in an hilarious media conference after Australia's 10-wicket win in Brisbane.
The England and Wales Cricket Board says Bairstow will not face any disciplinary action over a "headbutt" incident involving Bancroft in Perth earlier this month, which came to light on Sunday evening.
Bairstow, England coach Trevor Bayliss and captain Joe Root all addressed the media on Monday, but it was Bancroft who stole the show with his recollection of what he labelled a "random" action from Bairstow.
"For me, it was just really weird," Bancroft said to laughter from the waiting media and skipper Steve Smith, who was sitting to his left.
"It was so random, I didn't expect it coming. A handshake or a hug is something I would have expected more than a headbutt.
"But as I said, there was nothing malicious about his actions.
"I don't know Jonny Bairstow but he says hello to people very differently from most others.
"He didn't knock me over. I've actually got the heaviest head in the West Australian squad, it's been measured. There's an actual measurement for it.
"I just took the blow quite well and moved on from it. It was a good hit, play on."
Bairstow had earlier made a short statement to the media and insisted he'd done nothing wrong.
"I think it's been blown out of all proportion,' Bairstow said. "There was no intent or malice about anything during the evening.
"And as you saw out there today, there is no animosity between myself or Cameron any of the other Australian players."
Skipper Joe Root backed up his teammate, labelling Bairstow's actions "joshing around and boyish behaviour".
"A mountain has been made out of a molehill, as far as that's concerned," the England captain told the Nine Network after Australia won the first Test by 10 wickets.
"We've just got to move one and concentrate on our cricket."
The Perth incident came to light after audio from stump microphones was broadcast during play on Sunday.
Bayliss stressed that his player had done nothing wrong, and lamented that the incident had made it into the public domain.
"It has been blown out of proportion," Bayliss said. "A couple of our guys out on a night out and silly things happen that at the time seem a bit funny."
But Bayliss admitted he was disappointed by the distraction and may need to look at introducing a curfew, saying his charges would "dumb and stupid" if the incident didn't change their behaviour.
While the incident itself was a minor one, former England captain Michael Vaughan says it's "a big issue" for the tourists coming just two months after star allrounder Ben Stokes was involved in an altercation outside a nightclub in Bristol.
Bairstow was one of three players also fined and given a formal written warning by the ECB for "unprofessional conduct" for being out during the ODI series against the West Indies and Vaughan says the England players, while they decided against an alcohol ban, had agreed to their own "code of conduct" regarding off-field behaviour on this tour.
Vaughan says the fact Bairstow was involved in an incident on a night out such a short time after that code of conduct was agreed to is a concern.
"We need to know the full facts and England will look into it after this game," Vaughan told BT Sport.
"This is a big issue for the team; you go back two months ago to the Ben Stokes incident, Jonny Bairstow was fined by the ECB around that incident for being out too late.
"I believe 24 hours before England came to Australia, the players sat in a room and went through their own code of conduct.
"If Jonny Bairstow, on the first night in Australia, has broken that code of conduct, and is also on a fine already from an incident two months ago, I think he has a big, big problem."
Former Australia opener Simon Katich added the tourists will need to address public concerns about their team culture.
"It might only be a minor incident ... but from the England point of view and given the lead up with Ben Stokes and then the talk about the drinking curfews, it's significant," Katich told ABC Grandstand.
"Maybe they were just having a few quiet drinks, but it's just the perception that they're not 100 per cent committed to this tour. And if you're not, good luck beating Australia in Australian conditions.
"This team needs everything to go right for them to win this urn. That's not a great sign from an England point of view.
"I think it needs to be nipped in the bud really harshly because otherwise this stuff keeps happening and if there's no precedent set, the other players think they'll be able to get away with it as well."
2017-18 International Fixtures
Magellan Ashes Series
Australia Test squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Jackson Bird, Chadd Sayers.
England Test squad: Joe Root (c), James Anderson (vc), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Gary Ballance, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Tom Curran, Ben Foakes, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes.
First Test Australia won by 10 wickets. Scorecard
Second Test Adelaide Oval, December 2-6 (Day-Night). Tickets
Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Tickets
Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Tickets
Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Tickets
Gillette ODI Series v England
First ODI MCG, January 14. Tickets
Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Tickets
Third ODI SCG, January 21. Tickets
Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Tickets
Fifth ODI Perth Stadium, January 28. Tickets
Prime Minister's XI
PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Tickets
Gillette T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series
First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Tickets
Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Tickets
Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Tickets
Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 14
Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16
Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18
Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21