JAMES ANDERSON has called for England and Australia to ditch the sledging and bring the spirit of cricket to the Ashes.

Tensions are always high when the old rivals battle for the urn, with plenty of verbals flying from both sides.

Australia captain Michael Clarke memorably warned Anderson to "get ready for a broken f***ing arm" while batting during the 2013-14 Brisbane Test and the Lancastrian is renowned as a fiery competitor himself.

He is no stranger to exchanging words with batsmen in the middle and was charged with an alleged altercation involving India's Ravindra Jadeja at Trent Bridge last year, though the case was later dismissed.

But New Zealand's tourists have won praise from all quarters for the even-tempered way they have conducted themselves in recent years, not least during a highly entertaining tour of England which ended with a 56-run T20 defeat at Emirates Old Trafford on Tuesday.

England responded with a similar approach and Anderson, perhaps ambitiously, hopes the rest of the summer can continue in that vein.

"I hope it's played in the same nature as the New Zealand series, that was a really positive series and the nature of both sides' cricket was helped by the spirit the game was played in," said Anderson.

"[But] there's a different relationship between the two teams. The Ashes is a huge series for both sets of players.

"If there is needle, it's something I thought I thrived on or needed in the past but having played in the last few months, I think it's important we get the balance right of playing in the right spirit, but also having that competitive edge to win a game of cricket for your country."

The prospect of Australia playing nice over the course of the five-Test series seems a fanciful one, however.

They were roundly criticised for the brash approach they adopted in the World Cup final victory over the Black Caps and Clarke had barely set foot in this country when he laid out his commitment to the approach.

That it included the word 'headbutt' is perhaps telling.

"It [aggression] is how we play our best and it's a big part of the Australian way, but you also need to keep in mind that there is a line you can't cross," he said.

"Both teams might headbutt that line but I am confident we will not overstep the mark, and that the series will be played in the right spirit."

Australia typically focus much of their energies on the opposition captain but given Joe Root's sensational form at present, he could out-rank Alastair Cook as the most prized scalp in the home line-up.

The 24-year-old is in the midst of a hot streak across all three formats, and will be eager to banish his own memories of the 2013/14 whitewash, which ended with him being dropped for the first time in his Test career.

Since his recall at the start of last summer he has plundered 1,318 runs at 83.27, not to mention star turns in the 50 and 20-over formats.

"I feel quite confident at the crease at the minute," he said with tangible understatement.

"Everything feels good at the minute. I'd like to be a bit more consistent - I'm either getting a big score or nothing at the minute.

"Obviously I want to get big scores all the time, I'm greedy, but that's the nature of being a batter and I've got to keep that hunger if I want to keep improving.

"I'm looking forward to the rest of the summer. When you're playing good cricket like we are you want to keep doing it and it's really exciting that the Ashes is not far away now and we can get out there and hopefully put on a show again.

"It's obviously going to be massive for everyone involved. It's a very exciting time for English cricket and I'm sure everyone has seen the way we've played over this summer in all three formats will be excited."