Australian fast bowler Peter Siddle has potted England as sore losers, saying they are only complaining about sledging because they lost the third Ashes Test.
Siddle also turned up the heat on James Anderson, challenging the mouthy England quick to prove his toughness by carrying a side-strain injury into the fourth Test starting on Sunday at the MCG.
England batsman Matt Prior was furious during last week’s third Test when he was bowled by Siddle and then the Australian gave him a verbal send-off.
Prior appeared to gesture for Siddle to join him later on in the car park so they could sort it out man to man, although Prior has denied this in a British newspaper column.
He said Siddle’s comments had annoyed him and weren’t necessary.
Prior said Siddle had got him out in “lucky” fashion and should have shut his mouth.
“There are not many boxing matches when a guy knocks someone out and then kicks him while he’s on the floor,” Prior wrote in his column in The Independent newspaper.
However Siddle said Prior had indeed asked him out the back for a fight and before he could respond, several of his team-mates had put up their hands.
“Yeah I think he did (suggest having a fight) in the end,” Siddle told a Cricket Victoria luncheon on Wednesday.
Asked if he would have handled himself okay, the strongly built former junior wood-chopper grinned: “I’d back myself in.”
Siddle said sledging was part of the game and last week’s third Test was no worse than any other Ashes contest.
Speaking later at a press conference, Siddle added: “We won the game. That’s why they’re making such a big deal of it.”
The Victorian quick said captain Ricky Ponting deliberately tried to get him fired-up during games.
“They’re at us, we’re at them. It just makes the game a bit more lively and no doubt the spectators like to see it,” Siddle said.
“Ricky knows that’s when I can perform at my best and I can get the rest of the boys going.
“I enjoy having some fun with the batters.”
Siddle was also having fun with England’s bowlers, calling Anderson’s toughness into question with the five-match series at one-all.
“It just depends how tough the person is I guess. That’s probably the biggest thing with it all,” Siddle said when asked about Anderson’s side strain.
“If he’s tough enough to bowl through it, he does. If not, he misses the game.
“It’s hard work but you never want to miss a Test match for your country. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.”