Smith dismisses Atherton concerns over short bowling

Michael Atherton said umpires should have stepped in when England's tail-enders were peppered during the Ashes, but Steve Smith disagrees.

Steve Smith tried his hand at lawn tennis during the break between the third and fourth Ashes Tests.   -  Getty Images

Steve Smith has dismissed Michael Atherton's call for umpires to protect lower-order batsmen and said England would be dishing out the short stuff if it had the pace Australia possesses.

Jake Ball was peppered in the first Ashes Test in Brisbane and James Anderson took a nasty blow on the helmet from a rapid Pat Cummins delivery at the WACA, where Australia regained the urn on Monday.

Former England captain Atherton, writing in the Times, said umpires should make use of Law 41.6.1 on the bowling of dangerous and unfair short-pitched deliveries on safety grounds.

Australia skipper Smith feels Atherton has gone "over the top" with his opinion and defended his side's tactics.

Read: Australia has problems, claims Anderson

"No doubt, if they had the kind of pace that our bowlers can generate, they'd probably do the same thing," Smith said. "We were [always] going to bowl a lot of short stuff to those guys, much like we did back in 2013."

Mitchell Johnson tormented England when Australia secured a 5-0 whitewash in 2013-14 and the ex-quick had his say on Atherton's words.

"I don't think it's a fair comment (from Atherton). 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 questioned.