Jonny Bairstow puzzled by Australian plea for fans not to boo David Warner and Steve Smith at Lord’s

JONNY BAIRSTOW expects Australia’s Steve Smith and David Warner to face plenty of barracking from England fans as cricket’s oldest rivalry resumes this summer.

Australia's David Warner. Picture: Simon Cooper/PA

The pair were banned from the Australia team for a year over a ball-tampering incident in the third Test against South Africa in March 2018.

Having returned in time for the World Cup, they are likely to be the centre of attention as their side face England on Tuesday ahead of an Ashes Test series later in the summer.

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Reacting to pleas from Australia coach Justin Langer, echoed by India captain Virat Kohli ahead of their World Cup meeting, for spectators not to boo Warner and Smith, England batsman Bairstow told the Daily Telegraph: “I am not sure that makes any difference.

England's Jonny Bairstow. Picture: Tim Goode/PA

“The fans will react however they want, particularly in the Ashes. It is a bit pointless pleading with them not to boo Smith or Warner.

“There is a fine line as well. There was a time not that long ago when the then-Australia coach, Darren Lehmann, was telling the Australian crowd to ‘send Stuart Broad home crying’.

“I am sure it was not meant maliciously, but for Australians then to say ‘do not boo these guys’ is interesting. It has to work both ways.

“I’m not saying it is right or wrong. But to have the mentality ‘we can do it to you, but you cannot do it to us’ is a bit strange.”

Bairstow was a team-mate of Warner with Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Indian Premier League, where Smith played with Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer at Rajasthan Royals, providing an opportunity to lay any personal grudges to rest.

He added: “David Warner is an amazing cricketer. He studies bowling and was pretty generous with his knowledge when I played alongside him.

“Run-ins on the pitch do happen. England and Australia have a fierce rivalry (but) there are more important things in life than holding a grudge over what someone has said to you on a cricket field.”