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ECB to investigate allegations of Bairstow headbutt on Bancroft

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is to investigate allegations that Jonny Bairstow headbutted Australia batsman Cameron Bancroft in Perth before the Ashes series started.

England is facing a crushing defeat in the first Test at the Gabba after Australia dominated day four, and the day got worse later on Sunday when Fox Sports claimed Bairstow had been involved in an incident at a bar while the tourists were in Perth to face a Western Australia XI.

The ECB stated that it is aware of the reports and spoke to Bairstow after play ended in Brisbane on the penultimate day of the Test.

“At close of play in Brisbane today, we were made aware of allegations of an incident in Perth four weeks ago,” an ECB statement said.

“There has been no report of any incident from the venue, security or police and there was no injury reported.

“Following an initial conversation with Jonny Bairstow tonight we understand the context and will follow up with England players and management after the Brisbane Test.”

Bairstow and Bancroft exchanged verbals on the field while the England wicketkeeper-batsman was at the crease before Joe Root’s men folded to 195 all out, the Australia opener later going on to make an unbeaten half-century on debut as the hosts closed on 114 without loss.

Australia needs only 56 on the final day to go 1-0 up.

The allegations come just a couple of months after Ben Stokes was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm on a night out in Bristol.

All-rounder Stokes was unable to fly out with his team-mates for the Ashes tour with a police investigation ongoing.

England head coach Trevor Bayliss said there would be no curfew imposed on the players in Australia, but revealed that the team had come up with “sensible rulings” on drinking.

Captain Root denied a drinking culture exists in the squad following the incident involving Stokes.