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Ashes Paper Talk

A look at the top stories in Thursday morning's Australian papers as England chill at Ayers Rock but receive a battering in the local press.

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH

"ENGLAND coach Andy Flower must be taking the p***." The paper jumps in with both feet as the criticism changed direction from the players to the leader! It continues: "How can someone in charge of a bunch of free-spirited urinators like the England cricket team possibly lecture anyone on standards and leadership? Flower was totally dismissive of questions about players relieving themselves on England's most historic Test pitch at the Oval after securing a 3-0 series victory three months ago."

And with Mitchell Johnson showing no signs of Christmas warmth towards his Ashes rivals, the paper highlights the paceman's message "having bombed the Poms to oblivion in the first Test". Mitchell tells the Daily Telegraph: "We really wanted to get up them early in the series and just let them know we're not going to stuff around here. There are no friends out in the field."

Stuart Broad is let off the hook for a day at least as the paper focuses on the England bowler's comments on the importance of the second Test. "STUART BROAD says "soft" England batting gifted Australia victory in the first Test".

THE AUSTRALIAN

Sledging is back on the paper's menu with a headline "No move to curb sledging" and suggests that although the match referee may be ready to speak to both sides about the spirit of the game, the Australians have had no instructions to tone down the talk for the next Test.

It reports: "The home team has worn the brunt of criticism for the talk in Brisbane but it was apparent England was giving as good as it got and maybe gave even more when it was on top in recent series."

The paper also runs a story criticising the handling of Jonathan Trott.

SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

The paper looks at England's warm-up match before the Adelaide showdown and their time spent at Alice Springs and headlines: "Second stringers against England".

Its report reads: "England is finding the red centre more hospitable than Cricket Australia, after being dealt another roadblock in its quest to retain the Ashes. As England's cricketers enjoyed some much-needed rest and relaxation watching the sunset at Uluru on Tuesday night, CA was in the process of withdrawing two of the fast bowlers picked in its Chairman's XI squad for this week's two-day tour game. Out are up-and-coming South Australian quick Kane Richardson, who made his one-day international debut last season, and promising Queensland seamer Alister McDermott, who are both required for Sheffield Shield games."

While former England bowler Derek Pringle says the tourists face an Ashes whitewash if they don't win the second Test.

Pringle tells the Sydney Morning Herald: "The next Test in Adelaide is likely to decide whether England's current tour of Australia could unravel like the "Ashes horribilis" of 2006-07 when they suffered a 5-0 whitewash. So far, the similarities are mounting in eerily familiar fashion after Jonathan Trott's sudden departure from the tour with a stress-related illness. Seven years ago it was Marcus Trescothick who quit the tour just before the first Test suffering from a depression that had first manifested itself in India nine months earlier."

The paper also reports on Victorian spinner Fawad Ahmed who is not expected to be added to the Test squad for Adelaide. It reports: "When the selectors announced an unchanged 12 for the second Ashes Test, they reserved the right to add a bowler to the squad once they had assessed the conditions at Adelaide Oval, where half of the wickets have fallen to spin so far this Sheffield Shield season. But if a second spinner is to be placed on standby, it is unlikely to be Ahmed, who will instead be named in the Victorian squad to play South Australia at the MCG from Friday."

HERALD SUN

AUSTRALIAN fast bowling coach Craig McDermott wants his country's fast bowlers to replicate the efforts of the bowlers of the West Indies in the 1990s and "ruthlessly bounce England's tailenders".

McDermott, the 291 Test wicket-taker who has resumed working with the Test side, told The Courier-Mail: ''We wanted to turn up the heat on the tail-end. 'It was no different to what the West Indies did to us for 15 years. 'The rules state that we are allowed to bowl two bouncers per over, so why not use the rules? 'It really worked quite well. Mitchell Johnson, in particular was bowling very quick. Him around the wicket at tailenders makes them very uncomfortable."

GREG Chappell has warned Australia to beware the "wounded animal".

He also played down the effects of sledging, insisting: "The game wouldn't be worth watching if the players didn't invest any emotion in it. If you invest emotion in something, every now and then it'll bubble over. As long as it doesn't go past that I don't think it's an issue. I don't think I've played in any game where it has gone past that. I think there's been an exaggeration to the value and the amount of it. You can talk as good a game as you like, but it depends on who plays the best on the day.

"There had been plenty of words in the lead up (to the Brisbane Test) mainly because there was plenty of time to talk about it. Now we've seen a game we've got a much more realistic impression of what sort of series we've got ahead of us, it could be an absolute cracker."

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN

The paper takes a pop at the English, stating they had "taken another thinly-veiled swipe at Australian batsman David Warner, saying mistakes have been made off the field during the Ashes series".

It also focuses on Stuart Broad, who has been targeted by Australian crowds in the early stages of this series, and how the paceman says he had no problems with the sledging that went on during the first Test.

"The on-field stuff has been fine," Broad said. "You're playing in an Ashes Test match against Australia. You expect it to be tough. I grew up hearing all sorts of stories about sledging and on the field I don't think a line's been crossed. It's been tough. We're grown-up. We train ourselves to expect that. Off the field there have been some mistakes made. As an England side we pride ourselves on how we conduct ourselves with the opposition because you never know what's going on in the opposition changing rooms and lives. We just need to stay away from that, I think we have the balance OK at the moment."

In-form NSW quick bowler Doug Bollinger says he will never give up on a Test recall, and credits a new approach to fitness for his devastating start to the Sheffield Shield this summer. The 32-year-old last played Test cricket in 2010, when he struggled against England at the Adelaide Oval and was criticised for his lack of fitness.

BRISBANE TIMES

The paper takes a look at Shane Watson who won't play in the Sheffield Shield between Tests, "despite looking like a man in need of a long hit against a red ball during the first Ashes Test".

Cricket Australia said no Test players were considered for the round of shield games starting on Friday because it wants them all to assemble in Adelaide on Sunday ahead of the second Test.

Coach Darren Lehmann wants Watson to build up his bowling in readiness for a substantial role with the ball at Adelaide Oval, where he will be needed to provide relief for the quicks on a more punishing surface than the Gabba pitch where England was rolled for less than 200 in both innings.

ADELAIDE NOW

The paper analyses England's off the field antics at Ayers Rock. It reports "many played an early-morning round of golf without a soul on the course to bother them. Alastair Cook even took a hire car and was last seen heading with a mate towards Glen Helen Gorge - an hour west of the Alice - where he was reliably informed by locals that he could spend a relaxing day checking out the scenery and grabbing some pub fare without hassle. It's a far cry from the glitz and glamour of England's high-profile celebrations of recent Ashes triumphs, but a break in which they're understood to be revelling. Sources close to the team say it's just the tonic for the embattled tourists after the fierce spotlight of their epic Brisbane flop."