England tail ready for more bouncer barrage, says Anderson
England fast bowler James Anderson expects Australia to continue peppering the touring tailenders with short-pitched deliveries in the remaining two Ashes tests and says he has no problems with that.
Former England captain Michael Atherton has urged umpires to invoke cricket's laws and protect England's tailenders from Australia's relentless "bodyline" bowling Down Under.
Anderson was struck on the side of his helmet in the third test in Perth, which Australia won convincingly to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series, and was seen talking to umpires after the game.
"I have actually chatted to the umpires about it during this series and they say at test level you should be able to handle short balls. That is a clear message to get in the nets and practice against bouncers," Anderson wrote in his column for the Telegraph.
"I was not quizzing the umpires or asking them to stop it happening. I was just interested in their opinion. I guess we just need to get better at playing them. I have no problem with that. It is part and parcel of the game.
"We have bounced tailenders in this series and at other teams. The only time I think umpires should step in is if it is clear that a player cannot cope with them. Then the umpires should step in more."
Australia captain Steve Smith and paceman Pat Cummins have defended their team's strategy and warned that the bouncer barrage will continue in the final two tests at Melbourne and Sydney.
"We know it will not stop in this series and playing the short ball better is one challenge for the final two tests when we need to show some pride and prove to people we are not a walkover as a team," Anderson added.
England will expect some relief after Australia's pace spearhead Mitchell Starc was ruled out of the Melbourne test, starting on Tuesday, with a heel injury. He has been replaced by Jackson Bird.
While Starc's absence is a big relief for the tourists, Tasmania paceman Bird has been in impressive form in the domestic Sheffield Shield.
Right-armer Bird also has ample MCG experience, having made his test debut against Sri Lanka at the Melbourne coloseum and also bowled in last year's Boxing Day test against Pakistan.
England, meanwhile, has lost paceman Craig Overton, who was ruled out on Sunday with a rib injury, with either Tom Curran or Mark Wood likely to replace him, while young leg-spinner Mason Crane is pushing for a Test debut.