A war of words preceding the cricket test under way in Brisbane may partly explain the first two days' action in the middle. The Australians dredged up a column by Brendon McCullum during the last Ashes series in England in which he attributed an incident to the "immaturity" of Australia's new captain, Steven Smith.
In an interview two days before the start of the test this week, Smith said he had been "a bit disappointed" by McCallum's comment. "I didn't really think it was any of his business." The next day, opener David Warner weighed in, "In my opinion it was something that was quite poor and immature on his [McCallum's] behalf to make the comment about Steve". Then fast bowler Mitchell Johnson tweeted that he found it "strange when someone keeps telling the world how nice they are! You wouldn't need to say anything if it's true." That gave the game away.
New Zealand toured England not long before the Aussies did and made a great impression on cricket followers there, not only with their sparkling style of play but also for the good spirit in which they played.
The contrast with Australia was noted, especially after the incident in which an English batsman was given out on an appeal that traditionalists said the fielding captain should have withdrawn. The Australians are unrepentant, of course, but they are hurting bad. They have batted with a vengeance.