Cook talks sledging with match ref

Alastair Cook has attended a discussion with match referee Jeff Crowe about the impact of sledging and the extent to which it can be tolerated in the second Ashes Test.

It was widely reported, after the first Test at the Gabba ended in an angry and unseemly confrontation between Cook's opposite number Michael Clarke and England tailender James Anderson, that both captains would be required to speak to Crowe before the second match gets under way in Adelaide.

Cook has confirmed he at least has done so - he assumes Clarke has too - adding he is fully aware of his and his team's "responsibilities" to the game they play.

Clarke was fined almost £2,000 by the International Cricket Council after his earthy advice to Anderson - to "get ready for a broken ****ing arm", while facing Mitchell Johnson - was picked up on the stump mic.

Members of both teams have since insisted there was nothing out of the ordinary in the level of sledging in Brisbane.

Cook's meeting with Crowe has nontheless already taken place.

"We have chatted together - obviously a private chat - and it is important that I am responsible for the England players," he said.

"Some of those scenes were ugly at the end of that game, and we do have a duty to play the game in the right way.

"We want to play tough cricket, just like Australia do.

"But we have to make sure we stick to those boundaries, and I bear a responsibility for that."

Cook appears uncertain whether those limits were exceeded at the Gabba.

"Whether we got it right or wrong in that game, I don't know.

"But we have got to make sure we behave as appropriately as we can out there.

"We know the responsibility we have when we pull on the shirt - and no matter how much emotion is in the game, we know how many are watching us and we know what responsibility we have to the game."

England have other issues to confront in the second Test - principally how to improve on a performance which was well short of what is required, and resulted in an unexpected 381-run hammering.

Frank discussions have taken place on that topic as well.

"We had some good, honest meetings about it - and you can't hide away from the fact that we lost heavily and didn't play well at all," said Cook.

"That's the fact, and only when you start from there do you have some good places to move on.

"If you start wrapping yourselves in cotton wool and saying 'it will be all right' then you've missed the point.

"We didn't play very well and were exposed at certain points in that game.

"Now we need people to stand up and deliver.

"It's all well and good talking about it in the classroom - it's about doing it out there."

Cook believes he and his fellow senior players must set the example, saying: "Without a doubt - that's how we are going to get back in this series.

"It is always the way that the senior guys are the ones who have to lead the way.

"We are going to have to draw on that, and the five or six of us who are the real senior guys in the team are going to have to stand up and lead from the front and put in a match-winning performance."

That will doubtless entail some sledging from England's bowlers.

Cook is not averse to that, as long as no one goes too far.

"No, it's not (a tea party) - or it shouldn't be," he said. "People pay to see tough, competitive cricket."

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