Steven Smith (left) and James Anderson exchange words during The Gabba Test    Getty Images
Steven Smith (left) and James Anderson exchange words during The Gabba Test Getty Images

Insults continue to fly from one camp to the other. On the eve of the second Ashes Test at Adelaide, Steven Smith returned favours of the ‘bully’ comment to James Anderson: he called the Englishman one of the biggest sledgers in the game.

Joe Root had earlier expressed his displeasure about the Australians laughing over Jonny Bairstow’s headbutt incident.

The drama continues to add to the buildup of the first ever day-night Ashes Test.

After England’s defeat at Brisbane, here’s what Anderson wrote in his column: “A bully waits until they are in the ascendancy to pounce on people. That is what Australian teams do.”

Smith did not take the words kindly and hit back at England’s highest wicket-taker.

“I read the article. I think it’s interesting coming from Jimmy calling us bullies and big sledgers. I think he’s one of the biggest sledgers in the game to be perfectly honest with you.

I remember back in 2010 when I first started and wasn’t any good, he was pretty happy to get stuck into me then. Interesting coming from Jimmy,” said Smith.

‘Not mocking England’

Smith denied he was mocking England when he laughed along with Cameron Bancroft as the latter narrated the headbutt incident to the press. Root then mentioned that he was “very disappointed” at Smith’s reaction.

The Ashes 2017-18: Joe Root's England motivated by Australia's laugh over 'headbutt' controversy
The Ashes 2017-18: Joe Root's England motivated by Australia's laugh over 'headbutt' controversy

“I certainly wasn’t mocking his team. I was laughing at Cameron and the way he delivered the events of what had happened. He was very dry and different in the way things came across. You guys got a good laugh out of it as much as I did. I’m happy to clarify that with Joe Root, no problem there at all,” Smith added.

The on-field banters

Root was not happy with Australia’s on-field tactics, but Smith thinks otherwise.

“It’s an Ashes series, there’s always that banter on and off the field. I think it’s just about playing the game, getting out there and playing cricket and getting on with it. From my point of view it’s about playing good, hard, aggressive cricket,” Smith said.

On out-performing England bowlers

Smith frustrated the English bowlers by slamming a match-defining 141 not out. But, he expects the opponents to bounce back hard at the Adelaide.

“You’re only as good as your last game. I out-performed them last game, there’s no doubt they’ll come out hard again. They’re good bowlers, they’ve got good skills. As a collective batting group we’ll have to be at our best to score runs against them.”

Smith is prepared to frustrate the English bowlers all over again. The last time he batted, he consumed 326 balls.

“That’s cool. I’m happy with that, I love batting so I’m happy to stay out there for as long as I can to be perfectly honest. If it takes me 300 balls to get a 100, then it will take me 300 balls. That’ll also tire the bowlers quite a bit too, so it’s a bit of a win-win, if that’s the case.”