James Anderson was satisfied with the spirit in which the first match was played © Getty Images
James Anderson was satisfied with the spirit in which the first match was played © Getty Images

London:  James Anderson revealed Monday that Australia would not share a drink with England after the tourists’ crushing defeat in the first Ashes Test. England won the first Test by 169 runs, with more than a day to spare, at Cardiff on Saturday to go 1-0 up in the five-match series heading into Thursday’s second Test at Lord’s. READ: The Moeen Ali conundrum

Anderson said England and New Zealand had shared drinks, regardless of results, following both matches in their drawn 1-1 Test series in England earlier this season. England captain Alastair Cook invited Australia counterpart Michael Clarke and his side into the home dressing room after England’ emphatic fourth day win but was rebuffed. Anderson, England’s record Test wicket-taker, was at a loss to explain why.

“That’s their (the Australians) prerogative,” said Anderson at the launch of a new documentary film about a cricket team of Maasai warriors entitled ‘Warriors’ in London on Monday.  “After the New Zealand series, we had a beer after each game with them. READ: Australia paying price for being slack against England

“We found that was quite an enjoyable thing, just to chew the fat after a hard Test. It didn’t matter whether we won or lost. “At Headingley (where England lost to end the series all square at 1-1), we still went into their dressing room and had a beer with them.

“It’s Cooky’s idea. He’s the captain, he went and asked them. We were all happy to do it. I don’t know why they (the Australians) didn’t come in.” Having a drink with your opponents after the end of a match has been a part of all levels of cricket, and especially Australian cricket, for generations. READ: Ashes 2015, Cardiff: Tale of Two Tails

Indeed during the 2005 Ashes series, widely regarded as one of cricket’s greatest contests, the teams split a beer after each match. However, then Australia captain Ricky Ponting said afterwards that what he felt was an excessively friendly atmosphere contributed to his side’s defeat.

In recent years in Test cricket, the practice has been for teams to share a drink at the end of a series but not before.  Before the present series started, there was much talk about whether ‘sledging’ or verbal abuse of opposition players would be as much a feature as it was in Australia’s 5-0 home rout of England during the last Ashes campaign in 2013/14.

Anderson, once rarely shy of indulging in ‘verbals’ himself, decided as a result of the sporting atmosphere prevailing during the New Zealand series to give up on the practice and he said there was no problem with on-field relations between England and Australia in Cardiff.  “It was probably different from my point of view, because we were really focused on our skills,” Anderson said. READ: Where was the intensity at Cardiff?

“We weren’t fussed about trying to create any battles between us and their batsmen, any individual players or anything.” Anderson added: “I enjoyed it. I really enjoyed the game. I thought it was played in a great spirit. We had a lot of fun.” Warriors was given it’s premiere at the Curzon Cinema in Soho, central London, on Monday.