Australia are well known for their fire and brimstone approach to their cricket, never to ruffle the opposition’s feathers and push the boundaries of good sportsmanship.
New Zealand, on the other hand, have become regarded as the nice guys of the cricket world in recent years, preferring to avoid the niggle and sledging that is such an integral part of the sport, for better or worse.
But the Black Caps haven’t always been so mellow – as our Flashback Friday clips proves.
Fiery Aussie quick Mitchell Johnson and veteran Kiwi all-rounder Scott Styris were involved in a heated clash in Napier during the 2010 Chappell-Hadlee series, with the tense match situation resulting in tempers bubbling over.
After Styris clubbed Johnson for consecutive boundaries in the 46th over of New Zealand’s chase, the pair came together mid-pitch, exchanged words and butted heads before Australian keeper Brad Haddin intervened.
Styris had the last laugh as his super 46 not out off 27 balls steered the Black Caps to a two-wicket win with four balls to spare, finishing it with a six over long-off.
The aggressive middle-order slogger played down the incident post-match when asked if Johnson had headbutted him.
“He may have done. It was just a bit of friendly banter. He was trying to get into my head to get me out and I was trying to win the battle over him,” Styris said.
“There was nothing more than normal, the Australians play good competitive cricket and I’d like to think that we’ll match them in that competitiveness. There wasn’t anything untoward out there.”
Johnson was fined 60% of his match fee and Styris 15%.
Johnson recounted the incident last year for a column on Fox Sports, writing:
“I’m ‘the guy who headbutted Scott Styris.
“I was bowling with Scott on strike and as I was walking back to my mark, I looked at Hadds (Brad Haddin) and pointed to my head, indicating that I’d bowl a bouncer.
“That’s what I tried but it wasn’t so effective, as Scott hit me for four. As he ran past me, I got a little nudge in the back. I didn’t like that too much so I got up into his grill – literally.
“It was claimed that I headbutted him but that wasn’t quite the case. I’m not silly enough to headbutt someone who’s wearing a helmet!
“It didn’t take long for us to be separated and afterwards Hadds told me that he had to get me out of there because he could see my eyes spinning.
“I’ve seen Scott here and there over the past few years and I’m happy to say we’re on good terms now.”
All water under the trans-Tasman bridge!
The Chappell-Hadlee series gets underway on Monday at Eden Park, before encounters in Napier (Thursday) and Hamilton (Sunday).