Cameron Bancroft recounts Jonny Bairstow’s ‘weird’ headbutt greeting after Australia claim first blood in the Ashes
The media conference following Australia’s thumping win over England in the first test is dominated by questions about an alleged incident involving Bancroft and Bairstow in a Perth bar last month
New Australian test opener Cameron Bancroft described a headbutt greeting by Jonny Bairstow as “weird” on Monday as bizarre details emerged of the late-night incident during England’s Ashes tour.
The wash-up of Australia’s thumping 10-wicket win over England in the first test in Brisbane was dominated by questions about the incident involving England’s wicketkeeper and Bancroft in a Perth bar late last month, which only came to light over the weekend.
There is sensitivity within the England camp about off-field behaviour given the controversy surrounding suspended star all-rounder Ben Stokes, who is facing a police inquiry into a fight outside a Bristol nightclub in September.
Bancroft was matter-of-fact about their coming together.
“I got into a very amicable conversation with Jonny and he just greeted me with a headbutt,” the Australian opener told a post-match media conference, calling it “weird”.
“I was expecting a handshake. It wasn’t the greeting of choice that I was expecting,” a dead-pan Bancroft added. “We got along for the rest of the night quite well and I let it go and moved on it from it, it was fine.”
Bairstow, whose actions were slammed as dumb by team coach Trevor Bayliss, faced reporters to make a short statement but took no questions.
The England wicketkeeper said the incident was blown out of proportion.
“We were in the bar having a good laugh and a good evening out, it was very enjoyable. Cameron (Bancroft) and I enjoyed the evening and continued to do so,” Bairstow said.
“There was no intent, nor malice about anything during the evening. As you could see out there today (in the test) there was no animosity between myself, Cameron and any other of the Australia players.”
Bairstow said it was time “we move on from there”, but an irritated Bayliss expressed his disappointment, saying it gave the Australian team ammunition to put undue pressure on England.
“There was absolutely no malice in it. Are we disappointed that some small incident gets blown up and put in the press and brought up? Yes,” the England coach said.
“I am sure the will be further discussion between myself, management and the players.”
England skipper Joe Root also played down the incident, saying it was “a bit of joshing around – boyish behaviour”.
Australian captain Steve Smith said his team had used the incident to help get Bairstow out for 42 in England’s second innings of the test.
“It was basically about trying to get Jonny off his game, to be honest with you,” Smith said.
“And I think it worked, with the way he got out. He got caught at third man playing a pretty ordinary stroke. We were just trying to get in his head and it happened to work.”