Peter Siddle insists malicious verbal attacks are commonplace in Test cricket and will carry on for the rest of the Ashes series between Australia and England.
Play on the fourth day of England’s 381-run first Test defeat at the Gabba was especially heated, with Australia captain Michael Clarke fined for the expletive-laden tirade he dished out to England’s James Anderson.
“It’s just natural. It wasn’t any different to normal. If it hadn’t of been on the mic a lot people would not have said so much about it,” the bowler told Australian radio.
“The most disappointing thing is that it actually came up [on the broadcast]. It’s not meant to at that time and it is very stiff for Michael. Throughout the series there will be more of it going on but it will be under control.”
According to host broadcaster Channel Nine, there was continuous sledging from other players, especially Anderson, that never went to air.
Siddle said Anderson was one of the most prolific sledgers in world cricket and had every right to be due to his long-term success as a Test bowler.
“Anderson brought it on himself. So fair’s fair,” Siddle added. “There was a lot of other stuff going on and James Anderson was in the thick of it and a culprit for it all happening.
“He is one of the leading wicket-takers in the world so he is happy to have a chirp but as long as Mitchell Johnson keeps bowling them around his ears that will quieten him up pretty quickly.”
Siddle, yet to be on a winning side in a series against England in three attempts, said he was surprised at how easily Alastair Cook’s team wilted under the pressure of the hosts’ pace barrage.
“Especially with the second innings. I think in the first innings we took them by surprised a little bit,” he said. “But, in the second innings, with some of the plans for some of their players and the way we got the wickets, it was disappointing [for England].
“To have such a convincing win shows the position we are in and the strength around the side at the moment.”
The Victorian used the interview to wish Jonathan Trott the best in his recovery from the stress-related issues that have forced the No 3 batsman to quit the Ashes series and return to England.
“Everyone knows what a class player he is. For us it’s a big bonus but for him personally it is disappointing,” he said.
“I hope he comes back strong after whatever it is. He is a class player and you want to play against the best players in the world.”
England coach Andy Flower, however, is calling for a balance to be struck between “intense” cricket and unacceptable behaviour for the remainder of the Ashes.
Flower’s tourists arrived in Alice Springs yesterday for a two-day fixture against a CA Chairman XI at Traegar Park.
They will do so without Trott who, before his illness was revealed, endured a torrid first Test, twice dismissed cheaply by Mitchell Johnson.
He also had his batsmanship called into question by Australia opener David Warner, who described Trott’s performance as “poor” and “weak”.
Flower made it clear, more than once, that Warner’s remarks were not directly connected to the decision to fly Trott home. But he was not impressed either with the combative opener’s public comments.
“I think there are standards of behaviour that individuals and teams must set themselves,” said Flower. “The competition should be intense. It’s played between two proud cricketing nations.But I think we need good leaders, who know where to draw the line, and they need to be good role models.”
Trott’s departure has inevitably created a more sombre mood, and Flower added: “This type of situation does put it into perspective.
“I believe that the series can still be played in a good spirit – and let the best team win it. I believe it should be a very exciting series.
“But I agree there’s a balance to be had, and we all have a responsibility to find that balance.”
England wicketkeeper Matt Prior was dismayed to hear Warner criticising Trott. He wrote in his Daily Telegraph column: “Disrespecting individual players in press conferences, I find, is unacceptable and, as a team, we found it disappointing what David Warner said after play on Saturday.”