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Paine denies Aussies have crossed line with Ashes sledging

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Wicketkeeper Tim Paine dismissed claims Australia have crossed the line with their sledging towards England during the Ashes.

The blockbuster Test series has been fiercely contested as hosts Australia enjoy a 2-0 lead heading into the Perth showdown on Thursday.

Former England captain Bob Willis complained of “unpleasant and “personal” barbs directed at wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow, who has been at the centre of a headbutt incident with Australia’s Cameron Bancroft.

England paceman James Anderson has also been critical of Australia’s sledging but Paine rejected allegations of untoward comments.

“There’s been nothing that I’ve heard that has been too untoward or anything that has been particularly nasty,” Paine told reporters in Perth on Monday. “It’s just been tough Test match cricket.

“It’s been played in pretty good spirit from what I’ve seen and heard.

“Both teams have – despite what it may look like – a huge amount of respect for each other.

“I was [surprised by Bairstow’s take]. I certainly haven’t heard anything that has crossed the line.”

Paine, though, did warn Ben Duckett’s suspension for an alcohol-related incident in Perth had not got unnoticed by the Australians.

Duckett – dropped for England’s warm-up match against a Cricket Australia XI on Saturday – received the maximum fine for an England Lions player and suspended from playing for the rest of their training camp after pouring a drink over the head of a senior player – Anderson – on a night out.

“I’m sure someone will bring it up at some stage,” Paine said. “But what’s happening in their camp off the field has no effect on the way we’re going to go about our cricket.

“I haven’t paid a hell of a lot of attention to it … it’s a bit irrelevant.”