Ashes: England legend Ian Bell mocks Tim Paine following hostile Edgbaston reception for Australia players Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft

1 Aug

If Australia captain Tim Paine didn’t know Edgbaston was an intimidating place to play, he certainly does now.

The venue lived up to its reputation on the first morning of The Ashes on Thursday, with ‘Sandgate’ trio Cameron Bancroft, David Warner and Steve Smith walking into a fire pit on their return to Test cricket.

David Warner was dismissed by Stuart Broad for 2
Getty Images - Getty
Bancroft, Warner and Smith were returning from ball tampering bans
Getty Images - Getty

England fans welcomed the two openers, Bancroft and Warner, to the crease with chants of ‘cheat, cheat, cheat’ before waving sandpaper and singing ‘Cheerio’ after both men were dismissed early on.

The tourists appeared well and truly rattled by the Birmingham crowd and England hero Ian Bell was quick to mock Aussie captain Paine for his comments about Edgbaston before the series.

Asked if there was a more intimidating ground in world cricket right now, Paine replied: “Than this? I could name you 15.”

And Bell, who has played his county cricket at Edgbaston for Warwickshire since 1999, hit back at Paine after the Aussies crumbled to 154-8 at Tea.

Only Smith, returning from a 12-month ban alongside Warner and Bancroft, provided any tangible resistance as Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes tore through the Aussies’ top order.

Fresh off the back of their thrilling World Cup triumph, England made an excellent start in their bid to regain the Ashes following their embarrassing 4-0 defeat in January 2018.

The hosts have not lost a home series against Australia for 18 years.

England vs Australia 2019 Ashes series: Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft selected in 17-man squad

26 Jul

The three-men involved in the sandpaper ball-tampering scandal have all been selected in the Australia squad for the Ashes series this summer.

Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft all served suspensions for the plot in a Test match against South Africa in March 2018.

It is the first time the trio have been selected for the Australia Test squad since their bans.

Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith address the media after admitting to ball-tampering

Bancroft is returning to international cricket for the first time since TV cameras picked up him roughing up the ball in the match in Cape Town and he was suspended for nine months.

Smith and Warner were given year-long bans but featured in the World Cup squad as they were knocked out by England in the semi-final.

National selector Trevor Hohns said: “David Warner, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft have forced their way back into the Test squad through the excellence of their recent performances.

Australia captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner step down for rest of South Africa Test
David Warner, left, and Steve Smith stood down from their roles in the Australia cricket team

“David and Steve also have the advantage of being proven players at Test level while Cameron has produced impressive numbers for county side Durham this season.

“His innings in the intra-squad match in Southampton on a tough pitch was outstanding and showed his quality.”

There are recalls for fast bowlers James Pattinson and Peter Siddle while Josh Hazlewood is back in the squad following his recent back injury.

Batsman-wicketkeeper Matthew Wade is also named in the 17-man squad after two years away from the Test arena, having scored a stack of recent runs, including a century against England Lions last week.

The first match of the five Test Ashes series starts next Thursday at Edgbaston.