Cricket

Ashes 2017: England and Australia upped the ante on day two as the short balls rained in and the sledging increased in Brisbane

THE intensity and verbals were cranked up on day two of the Ashes series.

There were short balls and sledges and a distinct edge to the action.

 Stuart Broad hits out at the short stuff

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Stuart Broad hits out at the short stuff

It started when Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc started pinging down some bouncers with Stuart Broad the main target.

Broad was bombarded by Mitchell Johnson four years ago and then had his nose broken by India’s Varun Aaron in 2014. Ever since, he has struggled against bouncers.

The sound effects came from David Warner, who is still Australia’s irritant-in-chief despite claiming to have mellowed since becoming a father of two children.

 Mitchell Starc celebrates the wicket of Dawid Malan, but he did make a half-century

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Mitchell Starc celebrates the wicket of Dawid Malan, but he did make a half-century

He was in the ear of Broad and particularly James Anderson when he came in at No.11. The stump mic picked up some of Warner’s words including “your mate Swanny.”

You can bet your life it was a reference to Graeme Swann retiring from Test cricket midway through the 2013-14 series.

Warner might have been wondering whether Anderson, aged 35, will do the same thing.

 It was a majestic catch from David Warner that saw Jake Ball dismissed in the first Test

PA:Press Association

It was a majestic catch from David Warner that saw Jake Ball dismissed in the first Test

Well, looking at the way Anderson bowled later in the day, his retirement is a long way off.

At least it was not as beastly as the last time Anderson played in Brisbane when Aussie skipper Michael Clarke warned as he prepared to face Johnson: “Stand by for a broken f***** arm.”

That went over the top. The best sledges are witty – not threatening or deeply personal.

 Michael Clarke tells James Anderson to "get ready for a broken f****** arm"
Michael Clarke tells James Anderson to “get ready for a broken f****** arm”

Warner’s own dismissal could not have been any more tame. He shaped to pull a short ball from Jake Ball but held back on the shot and succeeded only in bunting to Dawid Malan at short mid-wicket.

The mode of attack worked for Australia with Malan, Jonny Bairstow and Stuart Broad all holing out attempting attacking shots against short balls.

But the docility of the pitch at the Gabba meant the bouncers were not as ferocious as the Aussies wanted.

They might have to wait until the Third Test in Perth for that.

Cameron Bancroft speaks about his Ashes heroes ahead of Ashes

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