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 they had the pace Australia possess.
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.
"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 told foxsports.com.au.