Jimmy Anderson told the Australia coach, Darren Lehmann, that he was wasting his time trying to unsettle strike partner Stuart Broad before the Ashes return this winter. Lehmann's appeal to the Australian public to barrack Broad, whom he labelled a cheat on the eve of the final Test, dominated the build-up, prompting the ex-England captain Nasser Hussain to raise the alarm.
"I hope the Australian public give it to him right from the word go for the whole summer," Lehmann said. "And I hope he cries and goes home. I don't advocate walking, but when you hit it to first slip it's pretty hard. From my point of view it's poor. The way he's carried on and the way he's commented in public about it is ridiculous."
Hussain felt the comments inflammatory and potentially dangerous. "Broad will have to be careful because, after these words, there might be some Aussie out there that, after having a few beers on an evening, wants to have a little go at Broad, especially after the Warner incident at a bar in Birming-ham. The management of Broad away from the cricket will have to be very, very careful."
Anderson was less concerned. "We are not interested in what he says. We are playing Australia in an Ashes series. We don't need any extra motivation," Anderson said. "Stuart doesn't need firing up. He is a world-class bowler. He has showed that in this series. He doesn't need winding up."
Australia's hero at the crease, Shane Watson, claimed to be ignorant of Lehmann's outburst and perhaps failed to grasp the perversity of the message when he welcomed any diversion that might make life easier for the home team. "In the Ashes series last time days four and five were like playing in England with the Barmy Army floating around, so anything that deflects from that I'm happy with."
Anderson admitted England had more pressing concerns reflating the battered self-esteem of Lancashire team-mate Simon Kerrigan, who conceded 53 runs in just eight overs on his Test debut. "The guys in the dressing room have got a job to do to rally round him, to try to keep his spirits high," Anderson said. "He's had one bad day. He's a quality bowler. He has been fantastic for Lancashire over the past few seasons and that is why he has been picked. The other players know what he can do so, hopefully, he can come back stronger."
After thrashing Kerrigan in a fixture against the England Lions, Watson was delighted to see him. "When I knew that he was going to play I certainly had a game plan," Watson said diplomatically. "You could sense he was very nervous, especially those first couple of overs. It is nerve-racking when people get after you when you are trying to find your feet in international cricket. He was under pressure. You are on your own. You have to try to find a way to get through situations like that.
"I was expecting Chris Tremlett to play. He bowled beautifully in Melbourne and Sydney, but they have their reasons for picking those guys. I was certainly happier not having to face a guy 6ft 8in with the ball bouncing up at my splice all the time."