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Smith: England sledging fired me up

6 December 2017 14:01

Steve Smith says England's attempts to rile him in Australia's first innings in Adelaide only served to fire him up.

The first day of the second Ashes Test featured Smith going at it with James Anderson and Stuart Broad in particular after the subject of sledging had dominated the build-up to the contest in the aftermath of the Jonny Bairstow - Cameron Bancroft saga.

Come stumps on Wednesday, Joe Root's bowl-first decision at the toss, Smith's own choice not to make England follow-on and a 120-run win for the hosts, sealing a 2-0 series lead, had all moved the story along somewhat.

But the verbal battle is as traditional as anything in Ashes cricket, with Anderson at one point fielding in an eye-catching short, straight mid-on position, handily in muttering distance of Smith, who was out for 40, but did not agree with English assertions from earlier in the contest that he had been affected by the mental duel.

"I think the opposite," Smith said. "I think they actually switched me on to be perfectly honest with you.

"It was when they stopped talking to me that I might have lost concentration.

"I actually enjoyed it. It made me really focused, it got me in my little bubble and I had my idiosyncrasies about myself and it got me going.

"They can think what they like but from my point of view it made me focus."

Root opted against stepping in as the barbs continued to an extent that umpire Aleen Dar routinely intervened, but the England skipper, facing a monumental task to retain the urn, did not believe his senior bowlers crossed a line.

"It's Ashes cricket," Root said. "I don't think it ever went too far, I think both sides are desperate to win and desperate to do their country proud.

"And that was just expressed, I think, out on the field."

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