Anderson's pace depth comment divides camp

Dec 25, 2017 - 1:13 AM Steve Smith has branded Jimmy Anderson's critique of Australia's pace depth as "rubbish", while Joe Root has attempted to extinguish the spotfire created by England's all-time leading wicket-taker.

Anderson remarked last week Australia have "got problems" beyond their gun pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins.

"They haven't got much other than these three," Anderson said on a BBC podcast.

Anderson was seemingly trying to make a point that pacemen capable of bowling at 150 km/h are rare beasts anywhere in the world but it's been interpreted by Smith's side as a slight.

Especially on Jackson Bird, who will play in place of injured spearhead Starc in Melbourne.

Starc and David Warner both fired back at Anderson on Christmas Eve. Smith was more terse on Christmas Day but made his thoughts clear.

"That's rubbish to be honest," Smith said.

"Does he know that much about Australian domestic cricket? I'm not sure. I know there's plenty of guys who could come in and really do a job for us."

Root is yet to caution Anderson or seek clarification about the comments, saying he was only made aware of them recently.

"It was probably taken slightly out of context. I think it's pretty irrelevant really because we are 3-0 down. The damage has been done," Root said.

"All we can really concentrate on is the attack ahead of us this week.

"That's not our concern, their attack and the depth of their bowlers.

"We know what we need to concentrate on. We know what Jackson Bird brings to the table and we have to make sure we play him and the rest of the guys really well."

England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow and seamer Chris Woakes have also distanced themselves from Anderson's comments.

Warner responded to the jibe by suggesting "our depth is fantastic ... England aren't used to having or producing fast bowlers" and that Anderson "went into his shell like a turtle" during the third Test because the pitch was flat.

Starc was also fired up, saying Bird "bowls quicker than the Poms' bowlers ... hopefully he takes a five-for and sticks it up this depth comment".

It isn't the first time Root has been forced to clean up a mess created by Anderson, who blamed coaching staff for his team's poor start to the second Test.

"It's probably slightly harsh to put the blame on the coaches. It might not be exactly how he (Anderson) wanted that to come across," Root said at the time.

Source: AAP

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