Jonny Bairstow will ‘take matters further’ if sledging ‘crosses the line’

England’s Jonny Bairstow says he will “take matters further” if Australia’s sledging in the Ashes “crossed the line” again.

Wicketkeeper Bairstow, 28, said he was targeted during the first Test in Brisbane but did not reveal the nature of the words directed towards him.

He did say they were not related to the ‘headbutt’ incident between him and Cameron Bancroft before the series.

Bairstow also said he felt “stitched up” over how that incident was treated.

“Some other things, apart from the ‘headbutt’ business, were said by Australia in the middle but what they were is staying there,” he wrote in a Daily Mail column.

“The second Test was played in a good spirit – tough but fair. There were some verbals from both teams but this time nothing crossed the line.

“Clashes like we saw in Adelaide are part of sport. I’m not making an issue of it. Only if they are said again would the matter go further.

“We move on. Hopefully it’s gone now. We just need to get on with trying to get back in this series.”

Australia’s players have admitted targeting England with “smarter” sledging during the Ashes series, which they lead 2-0 with the third Test due to start in Perth on Thursday, 14 December (02:30 GMT).

Former England wicketkeeper Matt Prior told BBC Radio 5 live on Monday that the contentious Australian sledging related to an issue which “hasn’t come out for various reasons”, adding some comments had “rightfully” upset some players.

Bairstow’s close friend and former Yorkshire team-mate Ryan Sidebottom also criticised the Australian tactics.

“I’m all for being in the moment and sledging and trying to win for your team, but do it in the right manner, not bring in other things that’s in your personal life or anything like that,” he told BBC Radio 5 live.

“Someone’s said something that’s upset him and I suppose he’s come out and mentioned that he doesn’t really want to hear that kind of thing so well done to him for mentioning it, but it’s not ideal is it?

“You don’t want this kind of thing happening but at least he’s mentioned it so Australia know about it and may nip it in the bud.”

‘The headbutt stitch-up’

Bairstow’s ‘headbutting’ of Australia batsman Bancroft at the start of the tour only emerged when comments were picked up on a stump microphone during the first Test – a 10-wicket defeat for England.

When explaining the incident at the post-match news conference, Bairstow said it had been “completely blown out of proportion”. Bancroft described it as “a headbutt kind of thing” which “certainly had no malice to it”.

Bairstow was not disciplined over the incident, but England’s players have effectively been grounded.

He added in his newspaper column on Friday: “Did I feel as if I had been stitched up? Yes I did in many ways, but at the same time I honestly never thought of it as anything to worry about.

“I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong and, more importantly, the team and management knew that too.

“How can I describe it? Boys being boys, I guess. But there was minimal contact, I can tell you that.

“No offence was taken and, talking to some of the Australian boys, they didn’t know anything about it until just before some of their players made comments to me about it during the Test at the Gabba.

“Those comments were picked up by a stump microphone and suddenly it had snowballed.”

How is the Ashes affecting your life?

How have you been following the Ashes from afar, and how has it affected your normal sleeping patterns?

Have you been able to stay up all night and follow the action? Or have you been listening to TMS under the duvet? Perhaps you have been waking more than usual to check updates on the BBC Sport app?

Do you go into work bleary-eyed each morning? How do you juggle day-to-day life with the desire to follow cricket in a distant land?

We’re keen to hear about your tales of cricket-induced sleep deprivation/batting collapse nightmares. Contact us via this form,and leave your details if you are happy for a journalist from BBC Sport to phone or email you.

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