Ashes war erupts over filthy sandpaper sledge

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

The Poms have taken a predictable swipe at Australia ahead of the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford.

Ahead of Wednesday night’s first ball in Manchester, it was Transport for Greater Manchester (of all people) who fired off a savage barb.

A traffic sign in Manchester went viral on social media on Wednesday after it reminded the Aussies of their ball-tampering shame.

The sign advised commuters heading to Old Trafford to watch ‘Sir Ben Stokes v Australia’ to take the tram rather than drive, because it will ‘sand’ minutes off the journey.

Archer also takes aim at Aussies

Aussie skipper Tim Paine has hit back at Jorfra Archer's claims Australia panicked and were complacent in the latter stages of their gut-wrenching one-wicket defeat to England at Headingley.

A facile win over English county battlers Derbyshire helped the tourists get away from the bitter disappointment of their Headingley heartbreak and Paine said his side have put the third Test firmly behind them knowing victory in Manchester will be enough to retain the urn.

"Jofra is entitled to his opinion, he has had plenty of those for sure," Paine said.

"I was told a few things when I was down in Derby - I haven't actually seen the quotes - but talk is talk and we are here to play this Test Match.

"What's happened in the past has happened and Jofra is entitled to his opinion. As I said, it doesn't faze us one way or another.

"We made some mistakes, it happens. We've addressed it as a team, spoken about it honestly ... we've moved on and are ready for another great Test match."

Joe Root and Jofra Archer have fired a few barbs at the Aussies. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Australia have made yet another change to their misfring batting line-up with Usman Khawaja axed after six lean returns which has seen him average just over 20 and failing to score a 50 in the series.

Marcus Harris, who replaced Cameron Bancroft at the top of the order in Leeds will get another opportunity with in-form Marnus Labuschagne shifting up to three to accommodate the return of Steve Smith, who is back after his concussion layoff.

"Usman's obviously a key player in our side batting at No. 3 and he hasn't scored the runs that he or we would like," Paine said.

"With Steve Smith coming back it was a tough decision to make on Usman, but we think he's still got a lot of cricket left in him, he's had a very good Test record over his career, and we expect he will bounce back pretty strongly."

"You're not going to change your order too much. Marcus came in, played one Test, I think it would have been hard to then leave him out straight away."

with AAP