England will not use loaded gun against Australia

Rival captains Tim Paine (Australia), left, and Eoin Morgan (England) with the trophy at The Kia Oval ahead of their five-match ODI series (Picture: John Walton/PA Wire).
Rival captains Tim Paine (Australia), left, and Eoin Morgan (England) with the trophy at The Kia Oval ahead of their five-match ODI series (Picture: John Walton/PA Wire).
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Eoin Morgan insists England will not use the ball-tampering scandal as ammunition for sledging in the five-match one-day series against Australia.

Australia will face their first international action since March’s shameful ball- doctoring incident when taking on England at The Oval today.

Captain Steve Smith and deputy David Warner received year-long bans for the ball-tampering that stunned Australian cricket in March’s third Test against South Africa.

Cameron Bancroft – who doctored a ball with sandpaper amid South Africa’s 322-run win in Cape Town – was also banned for nine months by Cricket Australia, with head coach Darren Lehmann resigning.

Morgan has vowed England will approach the Australia series with “service as usual” on a sledging front, but promised his side will not touch on March’s events.

Asked if England would use the ball-tampering in sledging, Morgan replied: “No. If you look at it in that, it probably could be ammunition. It will be service as usual.

“We play our cricket pretty hard, positively, aggressively, so we’ll continue to do that.

“I’m expecting a tough series. Every time we’ve played against Australia the side we’ve come up against has played hard, tough cricket, so we’ll expect that as well.”

New head coach Justin Langer has pledged Australia will respect the line between banter and abuse in the wake of March’s ugly scenes on and off the field. Asked if Australia can stick to those promises, Morgan replied: “To be honest I don’t know, I’ll only be able to tell you after (today).

“We can speculate as much as we like, but the proof is in the actions. I think it’s going to be a good series.”

Confirming Jos Buttler will slot back into England’s line-up following Sunday’s shock six-run defeat to Scotland, Morgan said his side have to learn from that surprise reverse in Edinburgh.

Morgan added: “It’s no good losing the lesson and the game, you’ve got to take something from it.”

Australia and England will shake hands before their one-day clash at The Oval in an attempt to heal wounds from March’s ball-tampering scandal.

Touring captain Tim Paine has asked England counterpart Morgan if both sets of players can indulge in the football-style ritual, as part of the visitors’ charm offensive.

Morgan has agreed to the request, but the practice will only happen for today’s opening encounter of the five-match series.

“They don’t have to do it, but it’s something we want to bring in at the start of a series, not before every game,” said Paine, of the handshake idea.

Morgan confirmed England will agree to Australia’s request, with the hosts ready to help advance a positive view of the sport.

“I’m absolutely happy with that, it doesn’t bother me,” said Morgan. “They are trying to turn around the image of the game in their country, and we’re all for that. We want cricket to be as popular as ever.”

Australia know they must build bridges across the cricketing world in order to repair reputations and trust.

Former captain Adam Gilchrist has insisted it would be “business as usual” for Australia on the sledging front as soon as they come under pressure.

But new captain Paine continues to insist Australia must prove they can turn over a new leaf, not just discuss it.

“I can’t talk about it any more to be honest, we’ve talked about what’s acceptable from our team and what people are saying from outside our team doesn’t really matter,” said Paine.

“Internally we know what’s right and what’s wrong, and that’s what counts.

“Again we’ve spoken about this a lot in the last few months; we are aware that words are just words. We’ll be judged solely on our actions going forward.

“It’s now about living our actions. We’ve spoken about internally about our values as a team and how we want to be perceived by the Australian public and by the cricket public in general.

“Words are words: come Wednesday it’s time for us to act on those words and show it by actions.”

Meanwhile, Moeen Ali insists he is ready to face up to his Ashes tormentor Nathan Lyon in England’s one-day series against Australia.

Off-spinner Lyon dismissed Moeen seven times across Australia’s 4-0 Ashes series win, but now the Worcestershire player hopes he can put those troubles behind him.

“He’s bowled really well and got me out a few times,” said Moeen of Lyon. “But you don’t get medals for getting guys out all the time. Who cares? I’m just moving on.

“When we played in the Ashes in England he never got me out once and nobody said anything. You just get on with it.”

Lyon says his stint at Moeen’s county Worcestershire allowed him to gain important batting intelligence on the England man.

But Moeen said: “If you look at a few of my dismissals, you’d probably know that anyway. It doesn’t take Einstein to work that out.”