BRISBANE: England paceman Chris Woakes called Thursday for the racism and sexting scandals that have overshadowed preparations for the opening Test against Australia not to be used for sledging during the series. Australia skipper Tim Paine quit over a text-message scandal while English cricket has been engulfed in claims of institutional racism. Woakes said he was confident both sides would let the cricket do the talking when play starts at the Gabba ground next Wednesday. “I think what’s happened in both camps, a lot of the issues are personal and cricket is played best when that sort of stuff is left to the side and we let the skills do the talking, which I’m sure will happen,” he told journalists in Brisbane. “Whatever goes on the field, goes on the field, and the Ashes raises that rivalry,” he added. “But in my experience, playing in three Ashes series, it’s not overstepped the line once when I’ve been around. “I don’t see it being any different. I’m sure the cricket will be hard-fought, as it always is, and will be good to watch.” Preparations for both sides have also been undermined by rain with England’s three-day practice match last week washed out, bar 29 overs. No play was possible on the opening two days of their four-day clash this week, but they finally got some red-ball action at Peter Burge Oval on Thursday.