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Ashes 2017: England Galvanised by Australia's 'Headbutt' Drama, Warns James Anderson

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: November 30, 2017, 2:44 PM IST
Ashes 2017: England Galvanised by Australia's 'Headbutt' Drama, Warns James Anderson

Steven Smith & James Anderson (R). (Getty Images)

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New Delhi: England vice-captain James Anderson believes that the antics around the headbutt incident in the first Ashes Test will act as an added incentive for the visitors as they look to level the series in Adelaide, starting Saturday.

Anderson said the touring squad had rallied around Jonny Bairstow, who caused an unwanted distraction when details emerged of late-night head-butting incident involving Australia's new Test batsman Cameron Bancroft in Perth at the outset of England's Ashes tour.

The England wicket-keeper said the incident was blown out of proportion, but a midnight curfew has been put in place for the players for the rest of the Australian tour.

"In an Ashes series there is always something that crops up, and they waited until they were ahead in the game to do it," Anderson said, which was a reference to the David Warner sledge ('You shouldn't headbutt our mates') that was picked up on the stump mic in Brisbane.

"It's up to us to try to deal with it in your own individual way. If anything, it will galvanise us as a group. We're all going to get behind Jonny, who is an important player in our team. If we need any more incentive to get back in the series, it will give us that," he added.

England's all-time leading wicket-taker also said that getting Steve Smith's wicket cheaply is crucial to the tourists' chances of squaring the series. Smith was the difference with his defiant unbeaten 141 in Australia's 10-wicket win over England in the first Brisbane Test.

Anderson, who looms as England's big hope in Saturday's historic first-ever Ashes day-night Test at Adelaide Oval, is hoping quicker pitch conditions will help the tourists' cause.

"He was the difference between the two teams. That first-innings lead would've been huge for us. So, getting him out here will be crucial. Hopefully more pace in the wicket might help us, but we've just got to be as relentless as we possibly can to someone like that," Anderson said.

Anderson, who has 508 wickets in 130 Tests, is expected to be suited by the swing and movement with the pink ball off the Adelaide pitch in the twilight conditions along with his new-ball partner Stuart Broad. Anderson said England have their plans to dismiss the Australian captain, who is the world's top-rated Test batsman, and will continue to execute them in Adelaide.

"Obviously, the plans to him, I wouldn't say they didn't work, but we didn't get him out, so they worked to an extent. We dried his runs up and made him work really hard for his hundred but obviously we want to get him out," he said.

((With AFP Inputs))
First Published: November 30, 2017, 2:42 PM IST
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