England's tail must learn to handle short ball, says Anderson

Australia's use of aggressive tactics against non-specialist batsmen will continue and James Anderson feels it should be allowed.

James Anderson believes the series has been closer than the scoreline looks.   -  Getty Images

James Anderson has no issue with Australia's pace attack bombarding the England tail with bouncers and feels the tourist must handle similar intimidation better in the final two Tests of the Ashes.

Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins have relished the opportunity to pepper their counterparts in the visiting side with short balls as the host reclaimed the Ashes by moving 3-0 ahead in the five-match series. Former England captain Michael Atherton has been among those suggesting Australia's tactics could be deemed not only dangerous but also an example of poor sportsmanship.

Anderson, though, defended the right of Steve Smith's team to rough up tailenders. 

"There has been a lot of discussion about the bowling of bouncers by Australia at our tail after I was hit on the head in Perth," he wrote in The Telegraph. "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.

Read: Bouncers will continue, Cummins warns England

"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.

"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."

Restoring 'pride and dignity'

England will be seeking to restore some pride in the fourth Test in Melbourne, which starts on Tuesday, and Anderson does not want to see wholesale changes to the team. "The series has been closer than the scoreline looks," he said.

"We feel like we have played some good cricket at times and want to give a fair reflection of ourselves by producing that form across a whole match. It is also important we start trying to build towards the next Ashes series in 18 months, correct the things that have gone wrong this series so far and improve on what we have done well. I don't see trying to blood a few players in the next few weeks and potentially losing 5-0 is the way to go.

"We want to restore pride and dignity and you do that by playing our strongest XI. I can't speak for Trevor Bayliss and Joe Root but I am sure that is how they feel as well because they want us to put on a display of strength."

  Dugout videos