Paine blasts Stokes for Warner ‘cheap shot’
Tim Paine has fired back at Ashes bad boy Ben Stokes for what he claims was a "cheap shot" at the integrity of David Warner.
The Aussie captain accused Stokes of trying to use Warner's controversial name to boost book sales for his new autobiography.
Stokes implied that sledging from Warner during his stunning Ashes century at Headingley got personal and questioned whether the Australian star had really modified his on-field demeanour since the ball-tampering scandal.
Australia's behavioural standards came under a microscope on Sunday as James Pattinson was banned from the first Test for making an alleged homophobic slur to former teammate Cameron Gannon.
Paine revealed Pattinson and also Steve Smith - who was charged for dissent to an umpire last week - both apologised to teammates behind closed doors on Saturday night at a team "values meeting."
But the skipper is adamant Warner has nothing to say sorry for, and said Stokes' attempts to drag his name through the mud was a low blow.
"Oh, absolutely," said Paine.
"I was obviously standing next to David the whole time (at first slip) and you are allowed to talk on the cricket field.
"But by no means was he abusing him or sledging him.
"It just seems to be a common trend in England that they like to use Davey's name to spike book sales. So good luck to them."
Paine may have been referencing the autobiography of England spinner Moeen Ali, released the year before, which also took aim at Warner for an alleged sledging episode.
Stokes said that Warner had been his motivation during one of the great Test centuries.
"He just wouldn't shut up for most of my time out there," Stokes said of Warner.
"I had extra personal motivation due to some things that were said to me out on the field.
"… The changed man he was adamant he'd become, the one that hardly said boo to a goose and even went as far as claiming he had been re-nicknamed 'Humble' by his Australian teammates, had disappeared."
Paine said he could personally vouch for Warner's on-field behaviour since returning to the fold.
"I had absolutely no issue with the way David handled himself during the Ashes, he was excellent," said Paine.
"Particularly given the fact he wasn't scoring a hell of a lot of runs and I'm pretty sure he was on the end of a fair bit (of abuse) himself on and off the field in England.
"… They write books to sell and they have to get headlines to get sales."
Since the ball-tampering scandal 18 months ago, new coach Justin Langer has introduced a "values meeting" which precedes every Test series.
Smith is currently serving a leadership ban stemming from the ball tampering crisis, while Pattinson had two other code of conduct charges hanging over his head in the past 12 months.
Cricket Australia has reported that code of conducts are down 74 per cent since Cape Town, and Paine says he isn't alarmed by behavioural standards slipping.
"No not really. Obviously we've had a couple of instances this week, but we always revisit them," he said.
"We did again last night, just to brush up on what's expected and what we expect of the group.
"Both of those guys apologised last night. They know that they fell a little bit short of what we set ourselves in the Test team.
"It's important we maintain that when we go back to State cricket and lead the way there.
"They're disappointed with that but we are going to keep on top of it and maintain the level that we've set so far in the last couple of years."