'We tried to get in his head and it worked'
In an act of mental disintegration that would make Steve Waugh proud, Steve Smith makes no apologies for using the Perth bar incident to sledge Jonny Bairstow
Martin Smith at the Gabba
27 November 2017, 04:26 PM AEST
Captain Steve Smith has defended his side's on-field conduct after England skipper Joe Root said the Australians had opportunistically brought up the Jonny Bairstow incident during the first Magellan Ashes Test, even though they knew it was "not a big deal".
Bairstow has been cleared of any wrongdoing over an incident at a bar in Perth earlier this month, when the Yorkshireman's head made contact with that of Aussie opener Cameron Bancroft in an incident the Australian today labelled "weird" but not malicious.
The Perth incident became public knowledge after audio from stump microphones was broadcast on radio during play in the first Test on Sunday, picked up Australia vice-captain David Warner telling Bairstow "you shouldn't headbutt our mates" during England's second innings.
After a subsequent media storm and England's 10-wicket thrashing in the first Test at the Gabba, Root was quick to point out that the Australians had brought up the incident despite clearly having no issue with Bairstow's actions.
"It is obviously disappointing that we've given them an opportunity to bring something up," Root said. "(But) it's come up on the first day where Australia has had a good day in the field, four weeks later.
"I think if it was a big deal it would have come out a lot earlier.
"I think we've got to be careful to not make a big deal out of something that's not there."
Smith was unapologetic when told of Root's comments, saying his team's plan to unsettle Bairstow clearly worked when the right-hander succumbed to a "pretty ordinary stroke".
"I think it was basically about trying to get Jonny off his game, and I think it worked with the way he got out," Smith said.
"He got caught at third man playing a pretty ordinary stroke, to be fair. We were just trying to get in his head and it happened to work."
Smith said the Australians never intended for the Perth incident to become public and that Warner's comment was inadvertently broadcast without their knowledge
But he added his side would not tone down their aggression with the ball and in the field in the rest of the series.
"We certainly have no intention of anyone outside of the people on the field knowing what's going on on the field," he said.
"We've made our intentions clear about how we're going to bowl to the tail. They know that as well so they can expect a bit more of a barrage, I'd say.
"It's always played hard out on the field, but we know there's a line that you're not to cross. I don't think (the Bairstow incident) is going to make any real difference.
"We're going to continue to play the same way we have, nice and aggressively. No doubt there'll continue to be some good, hard aggressive cricket played through this series."
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