Lip music: James Anderson and Michael Clarke trade insults on day four of the first Ashes Test at The Gabba. Photo: Getty Images
Ashes antagoniser James Anderson says he regards sledging as a "skill" that has played an important part in him becoming England's all-time leading international wicket-taker.
The 31-year-old was at the centre of the escalating events a week ago in Brisbane when he engaged in heated verbal clashes with Australian debutant George Bailey and home captain Michael Clarke as the first Test wound to a premature close.
Clarke was subsequently fined 20 per cent of his match fee by the International Cricket Council when a stump microphone recorded him warning tailender Anderson to "get ready for a broken f***ing arm". The remark was accidentally aired on television.
Anderson said it was as hostile an environment as he has played in but far from complaining about Australia's sledging, he admitted it was a key element of his own game.
"I have absolutely no problem about any of what the Australians were doing on the field. I probably dish it out more than most in the field, so I generally get it back more than most. I expect it and accept it," Anderson wrote in his regular column for Britain's Daily Mail.
"If someone says something to me, I am not going to back down. Whether it's defending myself or standing up for one of my teammates, that is the way I play the game. But if I choose to play like that when I bowl, then I've got to take whatever comes at me when I bat. Certainly it seemed to be no holds barred from the moment I went out there.
"What happened on the field is how the game is, and not one of our players or management uttered one word of complaint. I regard sledging, chirping, whatever you want to call it, as one of the weapons at my disposal. Certainly in the past few years I think I've developed it as a skill and it has helped me take the wickets that I have."
Anderson did not address an allegation, made public via Shane Warne, that the confrontation with Clarke at the Gabba was sparked by him telling Bailey, fielding near the bat with a helmet on, that he wanted to punch the Test newcomer in the head.
But he denied the suggestion that he had told batting partner Stuart Broad earlier in the first Test that he did not want to face a rampaging Mitchell Johnson, who was showing no mercy by bouncing tailenders with the same ferocity as he had the top and middle order.
"I'm not interested in claim and counter-claim of who said what to whom, but one piece of misreporting I do want to correct was that when I went out to bat with Broad at the end of our first innings, I said to him: 'I'm not jolly well facing Mitchell Johnson.' Or words to that effect," Anderson said.
"I'm afraid to say that is complete hogwash. I never said anything of the sort. Obviously, when I go in at No. 11 it stands to reason that we will have a better chance of scoring runs or batting out time if the batsman at the other end takes most of the strike. That's because, as my place in the order suggests, he is a better batsman than me. But the suggestion that I said I didn't want to face Johnson for any other reason is just nonsense."