1. ITV Report

James Anderson dismisses 'ridiculous' ball tampering talk

Anderson cleaned mud off the ball during the Boxing day test in full view of the umpires, and with their approval Photo: PA

Evergreen James Anderson has learned the only way to combat the "crazy" sound and fury of an Ashes campaign is to simply ignore it - even if it does include random insinuations about ball-tampering.

England's all-time leading wicket-taker encountered another escalation of brickbats and innuendo around cricket's oldest and highest-profile rivalry during the drawn Boxing Day Test.

Speaking for the first time about the furore over broadcast frames of him cleaning mud off the ball - in full view of the umpires, and with their approval - he described the incident as "ridiculous".

England's Australian coach Trevor Bayliss referred to mis-informed over-reaction as "Pommie-bashing", and it was swiftly and universally acknowledged Anderson had done nothing wrong.

It was another example of Ashes overblow, though, and nothing new for 35-year-old Anderson.

He is no longer surprised, even if he does find it wearing.

Recalling the fleeting controversy in Melbourne, he said: "It escalated quite quickly, didn't it?

"Ridiculous - but what we've come to expect ... crazy really."

Anderson's default reaction these days, to criticism or apparent crisis, is to turn the sound down.

"I think you've got to have a thick skin, definitely.

"If you start worrying about ex-players or whoever, whether they are opposition ex-players or even English ex-players ... you've got to try to block them out.

"We know as a group how well we are doing as a team - or not well.

"I think that's the most important thing - what we think."