Darren Berry and Shane Warne had razor sharp tongues during their playing days, most famously in an incident during a Shield game in the '90s that upset Adam Gilchrist. But this time the pair, once best mates, have taken aim at each other in the lead-up to the Big Bash clash between Warne's Melbourne Stars and Berry's Adelaide Strikers. The friendly sledging escalated after Berry mischievously suggested the champion leggie - who has flown back to Britain to be with fiancee Liz Hurley - missed the game because he was scared of the small boundaries in Adelaide. ''Shame when a legend loses his mojo,'' Berry tweeted. Warne then told Berry to ''try to lose that chip on your shoulder, might help your team, love Mojo!'' The chirp reached fever pitch when the Test great told his former state teammate ''don't be jealous of the stars boys because they played for Australia & you weren't good enough!!!'' Berry has since told the Tonk the exchange of tweets was just banter rather than a sign of drama between the pair.
Boof cops fine
Brisbane Heat coach Darren Lehmann has been hit with a Cricket Australia reprimand for his controversial comments questioning the legality of Marlon Samuels's bowling action. Lehmann was found guilty of breaching CA's code of behaviour following a hearing via a phone hook-up and received a $3000 fine suspended for two years. Lehmann raised the ire of CA for questioning Samuels's fast-paced off-spinners - which led to the West Indian being banned from the Indian Premier League earlier this year - in Brisbane's five-wicket loss to the Melbourne Renegades last weekend.
Bird takes fright
Jackson Bird had visions of Steve Harmison's ghoulish wide in the 2006-07 Ashes when he was at the top of his mark for his first ball in Test cricket. ''It was in the back of my mind just to hit the cut stuff,'' Bird joked on ABC radio. ''I was lucky enough to do that. Once I was able to do that I could settle into a normal rhythm and do what I do in first-class cricket.''
There's a reason Kumar Sangakkara's wicketkeeping might not appear as smooth as it was the last time he visited Australia. The 35-year-old no longer keeps wicket in Tests and as such does not spend as much time on his glovework as he used to. Sangakkara grassed a simple chance off Shane Watson, then on five, on Boxing Day and missed a difficult stumping on day two off Michael Clarke when the captain was on 58. ''I haven't been practising my wicketkeeping in the last month-and-a-half because we've only played Test cricket and keeping is something you really got to work at,'' said Sangakkara, who still dons the gloves in the limited-overs forms. ''You have to get your drills done, your feet going and your mind attuned to what you're going to do. It takes a while … there's a lot of things that go into it. From now on I'll be doing a bit more of the drills.''
Big Bash city
Do you prefer Melbourne or Sydney? It's a question often asked about Australia's two biggest cities but in Big Bash stakes Melbourne is winning hands down. Before Thursday night's match, the two Melbourne franchises had played a combined total of eight games for seven wins, with the only loss occurring when they played each other. In contrast, the Sixers and Thunder have played nine times for just one win. That victory was in the Sydney derby.
Interest in the Big Bash may not be as high as Cricket Australia had hoped this summer but there can be no doubting the public's huge appetite for the five-day format. More than 107,000 fans have walked through the MCG turnstiles on the first two days, including 67,138 on Boxing Day. And in a boon for CA and Channel Nine, ratings were also through the roof around the country with a peak five-city metro audience of 1.548 million viewers in the second session, and an average of 1.875 million combined metro and regional audience. Anything above 1 million is considered gold by TV executives.