Ollie Robinson was unrepentant after appearing to give Usman Khawaja an expletive-laden send-off as tempers rose on day three of a delicately-balanced first Ashes Test.
Khawaja’s masterful 141 was ended when England’s ring of close fielders led to the Australia opener attempting to make room, only to york himself as he was castled by Robinson.
Television cameras seemed to show a fired-up Robinson giving Khawaja a verbal volley in his celebration as he helped restrict Australia to 386 and give England a slender first-innings advantage at Edgbaston.
After England closed on 28 for two for a lead of 35, a combative Robinson had no regrets about how he reacted towards Khawaja, arguing past and present Australia cricketers have let their emotions boil over in the heat of battle.
Asked whether he is concerned about having a target on his back for the remainder of the LV= Insurance series, Robinson responded: “I don’t really care how it’s perceived, to be honest.
“It’s the Ashes, it’s professional sport. If you can’t handle that, what can you handle? When you’re in the heat of the moment and have the passion of the Ashes that can happen.
“We’ve all seen Ricky Ponting and other Aussies do that to us so just because the shoe’s on the other foot, it’s not received well. It’s my first home Ashes and to get the big wicket at the time was special for me.
“I think Uzzie played unbelievably well. To get that wicket at the time for the team was massive. We all want that theatre of the game and I am here to provide it.”
As for whether he expects to have to explain his conduct to the match referee, Robinson replied: “I’m not going to comment on that.”
Robinson and Broad finished with three wickets apiece to give England a slight edge before lunch but there were just 10.3 overs possible in the last two sessions because of persistent rain in Birmingham.
It was in a 22-ball window either side of showers where Australia gained a foothold under leaden skies and with the floodlights on – as a docile pitch came to life to make life tricky for England’s batters.
Ben Duckett and Zak Crawley were both dismissed and matters might have worsened as Australia were convinced they heard a noise when Pat Cummins went past the bat of Joe Root but the not out appeal was upheld on technology.
Asked whether England’s openers were irritated at having to go out in gloomy conditions, Robinson said: “Yeah they were but they understand if the umpire says it’s fit to play, it’s fit to play.
“Crack on, you won’t hear any excuses from our side. We still want to be positive and aggressive in our batting, but unfortunately we lost two crucial wickets. That’s just the game.”
Robinson hopes the rest of England’s batters can get towards a total in the 98.3 overs on the penultimate day that will allow them an opportunity to pursue victory.
However, Robinson believes England’s best chance of doing so rests on being able to bowl for all of the final day and give Australia a target to hunt rather than batting them out of the game.
Robinson added: “If they had a score to chase, that would allow us to bowl them out. If they were playing for the draw, playing defensively like they have done so far, it might be slightly different.
“When we are fresh with the harder ball I’m sure we can make inroads, I’ve no doubt we can take the 10 wickets quickly and wrap it up.”
Robinson’s profane tirade towards Khawaja was the main talking point post-play but Australia wicketkeeper-batter Alex Carey attempted to downplay the furore.
Carey said: “I didn’t see it at all, Usman hasn’t said anything.
“It’s the Ashes, at times it will be pretty exciting and hostile cricket. I didn’t see anything over the top there. From our dressing room, there was no comment.”
Published: by Radio NewsHub