Shadow boxing makes way for Ashes niggle

The Ashes on-field barbs continue as Australia's skipper and England's paceman clash in Adelaide

Not even several annoying rain delays could dampen a fiery opening day of the second Magellan Ashes Test as the niggle between the sides continued in Adelaide. 

England paceman Stuart Broad at one point had his fingers in his ears before, some time later, umpire Aleem Dar was forced to cool a heated back-and-forth between the fast bowler and skipper Steve Smith.

Broad, Smith and Anderson have a chat in Adelaide // Getty
Broad, Smith and Anderson have a chat in Adelaide // Getty

A lot of media attention this week focused on the sledging barrage in the first Test at the Gabba; the Australians declared they won’t back down from using banter to unsettle England, while the tourists were unimpressed with attitude of the hosts and that, it was alleged, they chose to speak up only once they were in the ascendancy.

When play started on Saturday, it wasn’t until after the run out of Cameron Bancroft for 10 that it became clear Broad was targeting opener David Warner with both the pink ball and plenty of carefully chosen words.

Mix-up ends Bancroft's innings in Adelaide

Broad turned around and screamed in celebration in the direction of the striker Warner after the mix-up between the openers saw Bancroft depart.

The lanky quick then beat the Australian on either side of the bat and he put his index fingers in his ears to perhaps indicate he couldn’t hear whatever Warner was saying.

Warner eventually fell for 47 to bring Smith to the crease and immediately the English went after the captain as well.

And Broad was again the main protagonist for the visitors.

Smith and Anderson have a word in the second session // Getty
Smith and Anderson have a word in the second session // Getty

An exaggerated leave, even by Smith’s animated standards, raised eyebrows and drew smiles from the slip cordon as batsman Smith and bowler Broad exchanged words.

The chat continued at the end of the over as the pair swapped verbals before Umpire Dar waded in and looked to calm the pair down.

Dar's intervention seemingly snuffed the sparks - at least temporarily - in front of more than a record 53,000 fans in attendance.

Anderson and Smith in comical Adelaide stand-off

Before a ball was bowled, you wouldn’t know the teams were locked in a ferocious contest by the way they interacted in the centre of Adelaide Oval.

As is custom on an opening day of a Test match, players from both teams sauntered out to the pitch to inspect the surface, mark run-ups and visualise what’s to come by shadow batting or gently rolling an arm over.

Broad and Smith continue their chat at the end of the over // Getty
Broad and Smith continue their chat at the end of the over // Getty

So naturally there are times when the combatants come in close proximity during this ritual, and today was no different.

Rival opening batsmen Alastair Cook and David Warner shared a smile, Peter Handscomb and James Vince chatted at the Cathedral End stumps, while Nathan Lyon and Joe Root exchanged glances as they crossed paths between pitch inspections.

Warner and Cook have a chat before play //
Warner and Cook have a chat before play //

But the two teams were a little less friendly once the first ball was bowled.

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