Prior says Australian sledging has been 'personal'

Since Australia sledged England's Jonny Bairstow at the Gabba over his headbutt greeting of Cameron Bancroft in a Perth boozer there have been rumours about what else has been said in an Ashes series not short on verbal exchanges.

They haven't been substantiated and the only thing that has been made public on the stump microphone was David Warner's comment, to Jimmy Anderson in Brisbane, that the tourists "shouldn't headbutt our mates".

But former England wicketkeeper Matt Prior has thrown some fuel on the fire from afar, suggesting the Australians have got personal, although he declined to divulge what he claims has been said.

"There is a lot that's gone on that I think the England players are quite upset about, and rightfully from what I've heard," Prior told a BBC Five Live podcast.

"There has been a lot of chat on the pitch that hasn't got anything to do with cricket and quite frankly shouldn't be on a cricket pitch. Stuff that hasn't come out for various reasons and whatever it may be. I know I've probably just thrown something out there and I'm not going to put any more colour into the picture."

Australian captain Steve Smith was probed again about the sledging in Adelaide on the eve of the second Test and maintained his team had not crossed the line, as is the terminology these days for what is and what is not considered acceptable on-field banter.

Prior is not convinced. "I think the question was asked of Steve Smith a number of times in a press conference 'did the Australian players cross that line? Did they go too far?'" he said.

"After he said 'I, 100 per cent swear on my life they did not cross the line', I think he was dragged out of that press conference pretty quickly because there are things that are going on."

The former-Test wicketkeeper added: "Simple sledging doesn't really work on these top international players. Alastair Cook is not going to be affected by sledging. Steve Smith, Warner, these guys have seen it, done it, so therefore you have to go deeper if you want to try and get a reaction, if you know what I mean.

"You have to say something that is going to be pretty fiery and potentially personal."

Fun and gamesmanship

England also weren't impressed about nightwatchman Nathan Lyon bunging on an injury and denying them one more over in the last session on Monday night. Joe Root and Peter Handscomb clashed on the way off the ground only moments later.

Lyon's teammates, however, thought the time-wasting was a hoot.

"They were all laughing about my acting," Lyon told ABC Grandstand on Tuesday.

Match-day blushes

Australia's shock calls at selection caught us all on the hop, so too the publishers of the match-day program, it seems. They've done a big read on opener Matthew Renshaw, whose run of outs cost him a place in the Australian XI.

There's also a section titled "Meet the team", which does not include wicketkeeper Tim Paine, opener Cameron Bancroft or recalled No.6 Shaun Marsh. The deadline for the magazine, which The Tonk believes was before the shield season started, does not make things easy. Back then, Renshaw was considered a lock, Bancroft was not in the frame and Paine was no certainty to get a start for Tasmania.

Sweet and Starc

Fast bowlers these days are finely tuned athletes who are careful about what they eat. So you'll be surprised to hear what Mitchell Starc puts down after a long day: ice cream. The left-arm speed demon finds it hard to keep weight on when he bowls, especially on away tours, and often does not have an appetite when he plays. So it only makes sense for Starc to help himself to a few scoops to refuel.

"I've done it a few times - quite a bit actually, after some heavy bowling loads," Starc said in the match-day program. "Definitely, in Australia you can just go down to the convenience store and get a tub of ice cream."

This story Prior says Australian sledging has been 'personal' first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.