Smith won’t ease up on embattled Poms
THE Australian bouncer barrage will continue on Boxing Day despite claims the under siege English batsmen deserve more protection from the umpires.
Australian captain Steve Smith has pledged to plough on with the short-pitch plans that have helped his team secure the urn and push towards a 5-0 whitewash.
And in a none too subtle dig at the floundering England attack, Smith said the vanquished tourists would do the same if they had "the kind of pace our bowlers do".
Former English captain Mike Atherton has pleaded with cricket authorities to better enforce the game's laws around short-pitched bowling which are designed to protect batsmen who can't bat themselves.
Atherton said he was dismayed by the continued attacks on the England tail, which included six short balls bowled to Jimmy Anderson in a seven-ball innings at the WACA. Anderson was hit on the helmet first ball.
"Test cricket or not, the Law and the playing conditions are there to protect batsmen incapable of protecting themselves," Atherton wrote in The Times.
"No one wants to see the game sanitised, but the Law is there for a reason. The umpires should make use of it."
Cricket law 41.6.1 says bowling should be considered dangerous if the "speed, length, height and direction" of deliveries could do harm to the batsman.
But Smith said the plan to intimated the English batsmen was preconceived as a weapon and would be used until the Aussies were told otherwise.
"We obviously had a plan from the start of the series that we were going to bowl a lot of short stuff to those guys, much like we did back in 2013," Smith said yesterday.
"And no doubt if they have the kind of pace our bowlers could generate they would probably do the same thing."
Former quick Mitchell Johnson, who put England to the sword in that 2013 series, said rather than worry about the laws the tourists should just "learn to bat".
"Isn't it two short balls in an over? That's the rules. If it's not over their heads or the shoulder restriction, how is it dangerous?," Johnson told Fox Sports.
"I don't see the issue with it - yeah, some guys struggle to hold the bat.
"But whose fault is that? That's not the fault of the Australian quicks. (England) should be working on their batting."
While the attacking plan looks set to continue at the MCG the Aussie assault could be minus short-pitch specialist Mitchell Starc who is battling a bruised heel.
He was still on crutches on Wednesday but will join the squad in Melbourne on Friday to press his claims.
The skipper said no decision had been made on Starc yet but that Jackson Bird would be "ready to go" if called in to the team as Australia looks to keep its foot on England's throat.
"I've had a good couple of days to reflect on what has been a terrific series so far and we have a great opportunity to go 5-0," he said.
"No doubt England will come back hard, we are going to have to keep playing at our best."
Smith said the Australians would hit Boxing Day with a more "relaxed" attitude given the urn has been secured, but a whitewash remained their major motivation.