England captain Joe Root has fired back in response to Nathan Lyon's pre-Ashes niggle, calling it irrelevant and suggesting the Australian has placed undue pressure on himself.
Lyon also attempted to turn up the heat on Root, highlighting the fact he was dropped amid Australia's march towards a 5-0 series win in 2013-14.
Hoping to touch a nerve before the series gets underway on Thursday, the Aussie off-spinner said: “Root got dropped last time [in Sydney] when he was here, so it’d be good to get him dropped again, wouldn’t it?
“If we can start by opening up that crack, it’s pretty crucial."
Lyon's controversial comments, particularly about ex-England wicket keeper Matt Prior, have left much of the tourists' squad bewildered.
But Root fired a cheap shot of his own towards Lyon.
"I played club cricket with him in Prospect (South Australia) and at the time we weren't sure who was the first spinner," Root quipped, per Sky Sports, jokingly comparing his part-timers to the off-breaks delivered by Australia's second most prolific Test spinner.
"He has obviously come a long way since then!"
"You hear a lot about these 'scars', but it's a series which happened four years ago. We've won four of the last five Ashes."
"I don't know whether they are just trying to brush that under the carpet or what but for me it's completely irrelevant what happened four years ago."
Root added the pre-series verbals of Lyon, usually far less forthright in his dealings with the press, were "a bit bizarre".
"You can sort of see through it a little as well," he added.
"Whether it's maybe a team strategy or he's just taken it upon himself to do that - who knows? The more guys talk going into a series, the more they put pressure on themselves."
Root added Australia's current pace attack of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins is "completely different" to the fast bowling cartel that crushed the tourists in 2013-14.
Prior seethingly declared Lyon had embarrassed himself with his "completely ridiculous and wholeheartedly untrue" allegation.
Prior also made the point that when he was out in Australia in 2010-11 it was the worst time to be an Australian cricketer as the media and the pundits combined were slating the players, and Lyon must watch out as one bad Ashes series can end a player's career.
The Gabba crowd will be eagerly awaiting this contest between Lyon and Root, and fans will be waiting to see how England's batting lineup will try and go after Lyon, especially with Australia only playing four bowlers.
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